Photos: Spring in bloom

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  1. Braving the elements

    Thousands of people braved cold weather and downpour on April 2, 2011, to enjoy the cherry blossoms, a highlight of Washington, D.C.'s, cultural calendar. The popular springtime event celebrates the emergence of the pale pink cherry blossoms that adorn hundreds of trees lining Washington's iconic Tidal Basin, a small harbor along the Potomac River. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Monumental moment

    A group sits along the Tidal Basin in the nation's capital under blossoming cherry trees, looking toward the Washington Monument. This year's annual National Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 26 to April 10. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rain drops keep falling ..

    Cherry blossoms are pictured covered in rain drops at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., on April 2. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Taking in the view

    With the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the background, Christine Wong of Livonia, Mich., sits on a the trunk of a blossoming cherry tree. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Steaming ahead

    A duck swims through fallen cherry blossom petals on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., on April 4. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The scenic route

    Cyclists on a tandem bike ride past cherry blossoms March 25 in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Pink everywhere

    The Jefferson Memorial is seen behind a blooming cherry tree March 28 on a chilly day in Washington, D.C. (Karen Bleier / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Unseasonably cold

    This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival has begun with unseasonably frigid weather, with evening temperatures dipping below freezing. (Michael Reynolds / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. An artist's inspiration

    A man draws a picture of a blooming cherry tree branch March 25 in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A sneak peak

    Tourists visit the Washington, D.C., tidal basin on March 25 to see the blooming cherry trees. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Bird's eye view

    A boy climbs into a tree to photograph blossoms near the Washington Monument on March 30 in Washington, D.C. Cold temperatures and cloudy skies have affected the normally colorful National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs through April 10. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. An enduring friendship

    More than 3,000 cherry trees were donated to Washington, D.C., from Japan as a sign of friendship in 1912. Japan's National Tourism Board pulled out of this year's cherry blossom festivities in Washington, D.C., due to the crisis at home, and the festival began with a tribute to victims of the recent natural disasters in Japan. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Painting in the park

    Artist Justin Pyles puts the finishing touches on some of his cherry blossom paintings March 28 along the tidal basin in Washington, D.C. (Karen Bleier / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. National treasure

    Cherry blossoms are seen in front of the Washington Monument at the tidal basin on March 25 in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Full bloom

    A visitor takes a picture of a cherry tree during the National Cherry Blossom Festival on March 26 in Washington, D.C. The peak blooming period for 2011 is predicted to be from March 29 through April 1, according to the National Park Service. (Jose Luis Magana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Tourist attraction

    Cherry blossoms are seen March 25 in Washington, D.C. The National Cherry Blossom festival attracts more than a million visitors each year. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. The gift that keeps on giving

    Children chase ducks under blooming cherry trees March 28, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The annual 16-day National Cherry Blossom Festival, which began March 26, commemorates Japan's 1912 gift of Japanese cherry trees to Washington. (Karen Bleier / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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By
updated 4/8/2011 12:38:44 PM ET 2011-04-08T16:38:44

The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade will go on Saturday regardless of a potential government shutdown by avoiding National Park Service property, organizers said Friday.

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Festival organizers have been determined to preserve the parade after a federal budget official surprised them Wednesday by announcing it would be canceled in the event of a shutdown.

If there is a shutdown, the parade route on Washington's Constitution Avenue along the National Mall would be shortened, the festival group said Friday. Part of the same road is under Park Service jurisdiction, so the parade would run from 7th Street to 14th Street to avoid crossing into federal territory, which begins at 15th street.

As for why jurisdiction of the same road was divided, "you'll have to ask Congress," said National Park Service spokesman Bill Line.

Amid stalled budget negotiations in Congress, the festival group struck a deal with the District of Columbia police force to provide extra support if U.S. Park Police aren't available due to a shutdown.

"We're so glad we were able to pull this off," spokeswoman Danielle Piacente said.

The parade includes 5,000 participants, some traveling from as far away as Japan. Also, 13 marching bands are scheduled to participate, including bands from Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and New York.

Video: National parks face shutdown (on this page)

The two-week cherry blossom festival started 99 years ago with a gift of pink and white flowering trees from Japan and now draws over 1 million visitors each year. A Japanese street festival Saturday on Pennsylvania Avenue also would go on as planned in the case of a shutdown.

Other events scheduled for the National Mall would have to be canceled, though, and Park Service officials are still determining whether part of the mall would be blocked off as it was during a 1995 shutdown.

"Let's hope there's not going to be a shutdown," Line said.

Hay fever and tricky floats: The funnier side of the Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Royalty: A pageant where winning is left to chance

A queen and a pink-tie gala: A guide to the Cherry Blossom Festival

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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