First Ever Anacostia River Festival a Great Ending to the 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival

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Date: April 15, 2015
Contact: Jenny Anzelmo-Sarlres, National Park Service, 202-619-7177
Contact: Travis Hare, 11th Street Bridge Park, 202-643-7542

The National Park Service and 11th Street Bridge Park presented the first ever Anacostia River Festival on Sunday, April 12 to officially conclude the 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Joined by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and several D.C. council members, the event celebrated the Anacostia River as a source of economic, health, and environmental benefits as well as a cornerstone of community pride. Photos from the event are available online.

At one of the largest events ever held in Anacostia Park, a neighborhood national park, area residents participated in a bike parade, interacted with live birds of prey including Mr. Hoot the owl, paddled canoes and kayaks on the Anacostia River, cast lines to try their hand at fishing, soaked in the sun while listening to local performers and painted a beautiful river mural along the Anacostia flood wall. 

“Anacostia Park is poised for a renaissance, and the Anacostia River Festival is just one example of how we will achieve our goal of moving past old perceptions and positioning the park for a shining future,” National Park Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said. “The National Park Service is committed to improving the quality of the park’s natural resources, providing a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, and engaging local communities to use the park as a gateway to health and inspiration. Forming a connection with Anacostia Park is easy.” 

The event brought together residents from both sides of the river and across D.C. to participate in the revitalization of this amazing natural resource just steps away from the future 11th Street Bridge Park. "For too long the Anacostia River has been hiding in plain sight. The first ever Anacostia River Festival welcomed thousands of visitors to celebrate and explore the river,” said Scott Kratz, director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC. “We look forward to working will all our great partners to continue the Anacostia River Festival in 2016 as we get even closer to realizing the 11th Street Bridge Park, which will expand and grow opportunities to connect people with this amazing resource inspiring the next generation of river stewards.” 

As part of expanding the National Cherry Blossom Festival east of the river, a new grove a cherry trees was planted in Anacostia Park. 

“At its heart, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is about community, and we were so thrilled to expand the National Cherry Blossom Festival and bring this year’s events into local communities,” National Cherry Blossom Festival President Diana Mayhew said. “We look forward to continuing the Anacostia River Festival for years to come!” 

The National Park Service and 11th Street Bridge Park are already hard at work planning the second Anacostia River Festival which will take place during the centennial celebration of the National Park Service in 2016. 


About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

The National Park Service is working to make Anacostia Park a signature urban park that improves people’s lives and protects the quality and resiliency of the Anacostia River ecosystem. The park provides inspirational natural spaces easily accessible to area residents and visitors and offers a wide range of recreational and educational opportunities. To learn more about Anacostia Park visit

About the 11th Street Bridge Park: As the old 11th Street traffic bridges that connect Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods have aged out, the District government and a local nonprofit organization, Building Bridges Across the River, are transforming this old infrastructure into the city’s first elevated park: a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts. 

The 11th Street Bridge Park will be a place unlike any other in Washington, D.C. – one that supports the community’s physical, environmental, cultural and economic health. After a seven month design competition informed by more than 450 community meetings, the design team of OMA+OLIN was selected in October 2014. With the design in place, Bridge Park staff has launched a capital campaign to construct this new civic space. The D.C. City Government has committed $14.5 million. For more information and to see the OMA+OLIN renderings, visit Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. About the National 

Cherry Blossom Festival: The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2015 Festival, March 20 – April 12, includes three spectacular weeks and four weekends of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. Visit for more information, and find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

About Bloomberg: The Anacostia River Festival was made possible in part with support from Bloomberg. “Bloomberg is proud to support the inaugural Anacostia River Festival and showcase the soon-to-be 11th Street Bridge Park,” shared Greg McCaffery, President and CEO from Bloomberg BNA, a presenting sponsor. “Events like this festival bring neighborhoods together and enhance the quality of life in local communities.”

Last updated: April 15, 2015

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