ANA Sprouts Cherry Blossoms at D.C.'s National Cherry Blossom FestivalJourney back to spring's pinkest event, with ANA bringing the beauty, joy and community of cherry blossom trees to Washington D.C.'s annual festival.

2023 / 04 / 28
Initiatives with the community

There is one thing that unanimously defines springtime in Japan: cherry blossoms.

Did you know that in 1909, the mayor of Tokyo gifted 2,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington D.C. as a token of friendship? Sadly, they had to be disposed of due to infestation. However, three years later, an additional 3,000 trees were successfully sent and planted at the Tidal Basin, located between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. Today, these trees continue to be a beautiful reminder of the enduring friendship between Japan and the United States.

ANA Washington D.C. team: Yasuko Despertt, left,Kazue Hashimoto, center, and Odette Martinez, right.

Since 2016, ANA has sponsored the National Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF) in the nation's capital, celebrating a century-long relationship between the two countries. Led by the Washington D.C. office, ANA has also donated and planted over 100 cherry blossom trees at schools in the Metropolitan D.C. area in the past 4 years, carrying on the legacy of contributing to a brighter and sustainable future in the local community.

As the 2023 Festival ended with a pink splash, we spoke with two members of the ANA D.C. office who have been involved with the NCBF planning committee.

Q: Can you describe the energy and atmosphere of the festival?

Odette Martinez: The locals in D.C. share a strong sense of pride and joy during the month-long festival. We're happy to see the out-of-towners in awe of the city and participating in the many festivities to welcome spring. The increased city traffic is always a good indicator that the nation's capital is buzzing!

Kazue Hashimoto: I met a school principal who grew up in D.C. and said she has never missed an opportunity to participate in the NCBF ever since she was a child. The event continues to grow every year and its creativity has no limits. NCBF knows how to have fun in spring!

Q: In your opinion, what has ANA been able to accomplish through its involvement with the NCBF?

Martinez: Through our sponsorship, we are able to invite both our corporate and leisure clients, thereby enhancing our company's reputation as a strong supporter of the community. I believe our sponsorship has also generated engaging content for social media.

Hashimoto: Thanks to our collaboration with the NCBF, ANA has been able to donate and plant cherry trees for the D.C. community. Through the planting program, we are being introduced to the local schools and future ANA passengers.

Q: What are some of your favorite NCBF moments?

Martinez: The parade is at the top of my list. It's a family fun day filled with pageantry of color and entertainment. I especially enjoy seeing our ANA float and the giant helium balloon marching down the iconic Constitution Avenue! I couldn't think of a better way to end the festival each year.

Hashimoto: The opportunity to work with the NCBF community has been a personal highlight. NCBF treats ANA exceptionally well and collaborating with them has been a great experience for everyone involved.