Cherry blossoms cover a restaurant on Capitol Hill in 2008. The annual festival brings a boost to local businesses.
The Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off the tourism season here in D.C. And it's an important industry to local economy, second only to the federal government in terms of economic impact.
"The estimated economic impact of the economy in 2010 was about $126 million, so clearly the impact overall is pretty profound for Washington, D.C.," says Elliott Ferguson of Destination D.C. "It fills our hotels, it keeps the restaurants pretty robust, a large percentage – at least 40-plus percent – of the attendees of the festival come from outside of the region."
And when those tourists pour into D.C., Metro says it will be ready. The transit agency says it is lengthening five of its rail cars to meet the demand, at a nearly 650 extra seats.