Event formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival to transform waterfront into a one-day-only springtime spectacle

On Saturday, April 7 from 1 to 9:30 p.m., the inaugural Petalpalooza presented by FreshDirect will make its highly anticipated debut at The Wharf, DC’s newest half-mile-long waterfront destination. Formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, Petalpalooza will include interactive art installations, larger-than-life games and activities, live music on three outdoor stages, a roller rink, a beer garden, a spectacular fireworks show by Pyrotecnico, and much more along the piers of the Southwest Waterfront, the “home of the cherry blossoms.”

Enjoy more than eight energetic hours of live music on three waterfront stages, including the DC Lottery Main Stage, a floating “202 Stage” showcasing DC’s homegrown talent, and an Acoustic Lounge. On the Fresh Direct 202 Pier, attendees will let the good times roll in the free roller skating rink, with special roller dancer performances throughout the day.

All are encouraged to release their inner Picasso with bike spin art, Japanese calligraphy, Gyotaku fish prints, plein air artists, and more. Plus, there will be no shortage of selfie-worthy snapshots, including an interactive “flower-by-numbers” wall and life-sized photo frames.

In the Samuel Adams Beer Garden on the District Pier and Transit Pier, guests can stay hydrated with free samples from LaCroix and Coca-Cola soft drinks for sale. FreshDirect will be giving away special snack packs for attendees, L’Occitane En Provence cherry blossom product samples will be distributed from the L’Occitruck, and children can make their own T-shirts with Harbor Patrol. Even four-legged friends can join the festivities with special amenities for dogs at Petalpalooza’s Pop-Up Parklet, sponsored by Mars Petcare and its Better Cities for PetsTM program.

Of course, the fireworks tradition lives on, as a dazzling choreographed display of more than 4,000 effects will light up DC’s night sky above the Washington Channel.

Several DC-based artists will be featured throughout Petalpalooza’s programming thanks to a grant awarded to the National Cherry Blossom Festival by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, including the following:

  • Performances by DC-based bands La Unica, Broke Royals, and AZTEC SUN on the 202 Stage
  • A “Flower by Number” interactive visual art installation featuring DC-based artist Kellie Cox
  • A roller skating rink with skating performances by DC-based dancers
  • Two DC-based plein air artists: Samantha Testa and Kasey O’Boyle
  • A fireworks prelude performance by DC’s own StepAfrika!

This initiative was designed to honor the roots of the event, which was created in 2004 by and for the Southwest DC community. In 2018 the event moves into a new venue—the long-awaited Southwest Waterfront redevelopment project, The Wharf. To reinforce the community’s sense of identity at this long-standing event as it enters a new chapter of life in its new home, Southwest DC residents have been given special recognition through the 202 Pier area of the event, both as participating artists and attendees.

Petalpalooza is easily accessible by Metrobus and Metro’s Orange, Blue, Yellow, and Green lines to L’Enfant Plaza or Waterfront Station. The Wharf also offers more than 1,000 free bike parking spots and a free SW Neighborhood Shuttle running between the Mall and The Wharf with stops at L’Enfant Plaza along the way. Guests can also travel to The Wharf by water taxi from Alexandria, Va., and Georgetown. The fireworks display may be viewed from all locations within the event, with the best views being on District and Transit piers and Wharf Street. Alternatively, the fireworks may also be viewed from East Potomac Park directly across from The Wharf.

Petalpalooza is presented by FreshDirect, hosted by The Wharf, with support by Mars Petcare and its Better Cities for PetsTM program. Additional supporters include Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Japan National Tourism Organization, LaCroix Sparkling Water, L’Occitane En Provence, Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, DC Lottery, Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise, Samuel Adams, Odyssey and Spirit Cruises, Cantina Bambina, Hyatt House Washington DC/The Wharf, Canopy by Hilton/The Wharf, Bloomia, and Boating in DC. DC-based artist programming is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2018 festival, running from March 20 to April 15, includes four weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org or call 877.44.BLOOM for more information, or check out Facebook (CherryBlossomFestival), Twitter (@CherryBlossFest), and Instagram (@CherryBlossFest).

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