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(CNN) -- Our winter blues are about to turn pink! This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival starts in Washington on Thursday. The annual event attracts more than a million people from across the country and abroad. The festival is starting on the first day of spring, as always, but peak bloom is predicted to be later this season because of the brutal winter in the D.C. area.
"We're really excited to welcome spring with all this winter weather," said Danielle Davis, a festival spokeswoman.
The National Park Service says peak bloom, the day when 70% of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees around the Tidal Basin are open, is forecast to fall between April 8 and 12. The average peak bloom date for the past 21 years has been March 31.
As one of the largest springtime festivals in the United States, the start of cherry blossom season may finally mean old man winter is retiring for the year. If you can't make a trip to the nation's capital to see these delicate flowers, then you're in luck, because we've got a collection of beautiful blossom photos from previous years to share with you. (See the gallery in high resolution here.)