Opening with a short performance by the E.W. Stokes Steel Drum Band, whose appearance was a prelude to its upcoming participation in the 2010 Festival Family Day & Opening Ceremony, the press conference began with welcoming remarks by Joe Urschel, Executive Director of the Newseum.
Following an overview of this year's Festival by president Diana Mayhew, the following speakers made remarks:
- Susan E.S. Norton, NCBF Board Chair, introduced Festival Partners and the Goodwill Ambassadors;
- Minister Hideo Fukushima, Minister for Public Affairs, Embassy of Japan, discussed the Embassy's growing role in the Festival;
- Adrian M. Fenty, Mayor of the District of Columbia, discussed the economic importance of the Festival to all DC;
- Ambassador John Malott, President & CEO, Japan-America Society of Washington, DC discussed the 50th Annual Sakura Matsuri-Japanese Street Festival;
- Jo-ann Straat, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., addressed the plans for the 2012 Centennial Celebration;
- Rob DeFeo, Chief Horticulturalist of the National Park Service, announced this year's peak bloom period prediction to be 3 - 10 April 2010, with the reminder that the blooming period of the trees begins many days before and can last as long as up to 14 days. Mr. DeFeo predicted the blooming period would be from March 31 through April 11, 2010;
- Scott Loretan, Senior Vice President of Sodexo School Services, spoke about the joy and success of sponsoring the Festival's Youth Ambassador Program.
Click the image to view my 2010 National Cherry Blossom Festival Kick Off Press Conference photo album which represents the first event of my 2010 National Cherry Blossom Festival docu-project. Here is my 2009 NCBF documentation.
For more information regarding the E. W. Stokes Steel Drum Band visit the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School website.
And here is the National Cherry Blossom Festival website.