Win Exclusive Cherry Blossom Swag! – Tell us WHY you Volunteer!

Do you love NCBF Swag as much as we do? Of course you do!

Enter to win this Official National Cherry Blossom Fanny Pack by telling us Why you volunteer!

We’ll tell you, this Fanny Pack definitely comes in handy when working Festival Events like the Parade, Kite Festival, or Petalpalooza! This stylish pack is essential when on your feet for long hours as it offers the convenience of holding all your belongings – even your water bottle!

There are several ways to style this Fanny pack, all of which provide the accessibility of being able to use your hands throughout the day!

Enter a “Why I Volunteer” submission to win this fun and convenient prize!

This item is an exclusive giveaway and not available for purchase!

Rules for Why I Volunteer Raffle:

The National Cherry Blossom Festival will be raffling off a NCBF branded Fanny Pack to one lucky winner. In order to be eligible, you must submit an entry for Why I Volunteer by following the instructions below!

  1. Complete a Why I Volunteer submission that must include a photo or video. One entry per person and new entries only!**
  2. Submission due Tuesday, March 3rd through Wednesday, March 11th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
  3. One winner will be selected at random on March 12th. The winner will be announced during the remarks at Volunteer Orientation on Thursday, March 12th. The winner does not need to be present at the event to collect the prize.
  4. The winner’s Why I Volunteer submission will be featured in the March 17th newsletter.

**Note: Volunteers who have previously submitted a “Why I Volunteer” submission are not eligible for this raffle. We thank you for your previous submission.

***Water bottle not included

Submit your answers here:

Show your Cherry Blossom spirit with this Fanny Pack or other merchandise!

  • Make sure to tag @cherryblossomfest in all your posts so we can share your messages!

#SpringBlossomsHere #CherryBlossomVolunteers #SpringVolunteers #VolunteersBlossomHere

Meet the EEC: Information Sector!

This week we’re introducing the lovely Information Sector of the Event Execution Committee! These amazing people are always up to date on all things National Cherry Blossom Festival as well as its Participating Programs! During festival events they manage information booths onsite and assist in training information booth volunteers. Additionally, they are experts on the DC area and Japan/U.S. Culture relations. This team does their best to ensure that accurate information is disseminated to our guests!

Mike Auldridge:

Why do you want to volunteer for the Cherry Blossom Festival?

  • I want to help other folks know the city and the Festival better.

What is your favorite blossom event and why?

  • The parade; all the energy is great !

Kycia Spriggins:

Why do you volunteer?

  • People come from all around the world to see the cherry trees, what better way to show off our beautiful city than supporting the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It brings me so much joy to be able to share my knowledge about the history of the trees while promoting the festival activities that kick-off spring in the district.

What is your most memorable moment or memory from the past festivals?

  • In 2014, my mom came to visit me, from Texas, and we volunteered together at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.  We served as ushers and was able to see the parade travel down Constitution Avenue.  My mom loved every minute of it and I loved that I was able to share a part of my life that I tell her about every festival season.

Andrea Medinaceli:

Why do you want to volunteer for the Cherry Blossom Festival?

  • I love giving back! The Cherry Blossom Festival was one of the first events that I went to when I first moved to DC. It was such a memorable experience and so much fun! I love that I am able to volunteer with the organization to helps others experience the same happiness it brought me. 

What do you hope to get out of the EEC?

  • Being able to help other experience the festival! / Being able to spend time with the other amazing volunteers!

Lauren Brown:

Why Do You Volunteer?

  • I volunteer because the Festival is a great event that is loved by locals and visitors alike. The fact that there are so many different events that make up the Festival and celebrate the gift of the trees means there is something for everyone to enjoy! The Festival is a great kickoff to the spring season, and I always love taking a stroll around the Tidal Basin when the trees are in bloom. I have been enjoying attending the Festival for more than eight years and was looking for a way to get more involved and share my love of the Festival with others.

What do you do in your sector of the EEC?

  • I am a member of the Information Committee, where we work to manage the information booths at the Signature Events and staff the Union Station Pop-Up Shop & Information Kiosk and the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. At the information booths, we make sure that visitors know about all of the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s wonderful events and answer questions about the Festival and the DC area. We help ensure that visitors know about the Festival’s offerings and answer any questions they may have.

Mary Pritt:

Why Do You Volunteer?

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is such an iconic part of DC’s spring time; I love that I can be a part of this prominent event! I like knowing that I am making the festival even better, whether helping with crowd control at the parade, guiding tourists to their destinations, or selling merchandise in the pop-up shop to raise money for the festival. I also like that volunteering is a great way to make new friends in the area!

What’s a Fun Fact about you?

I just adopted a cat! I am embracing turning into a crazy cat lady.

Say “Hi” to this group when they present during the first and third sessions of the Volunteer Orientation event on March 12!

RSVP for Volunteer Orientation here:

Meet the EEC: Volunteer and Engagement Sector!

Every Festival season, the Event Execution Committee works closely with staff to ensure the success of the Festival! Our EEC is split into four categories: Information, Volunteer Engagement, Hospitality, and Operations.

Meet the members of the Volunteer Engagement sector whose job it is to assist with volunteer recruitment, promote guest management at volunteer events, and keep volunteers engaged year round! This team builds volunteer engagement through the NCBF social media channels, volunteer social events, and by assisting the Volunteer Manager in day-to-day operations of the festival!

Gail Broeckel:

Why do You Volunteer?

  • “I love everything associated with the cherry blossoms. I have a passion for volunteering. The gift of time is the best gesture you can give a person/organization.  Since I feel a part of the “pink family” I am happy to be a part of a team that will help make each event successful.”

What is your favorite National Cherry Blossom Festival memory?

  • “I don’t know how to select just one memory.  I love watching the cherry blossom balloons being blown up before the parade.  I enjoy seeing the performances at the opening ceremony.”

Cherie Nichols:

Why do You Volunteer?

  • “Early mornings, beautiful weather, tons of acts, colorful floats, and large crowds.  I have volunteered at the Parade for several years and it is one of my favorite events to see how well it comes together with so many components.  The very first year I helped to carry one of the Cherry Blossom floats.  It literally takes a team to carry and is definitely fun.”

What do you picture when someone mentions the cherry blossom parade?

  • “Early mornings, beautiful weather, tons of acts, colorful floats, and large crowds.  I have volunteered at the Parade for several years and it is one of my favorite events to see how well it comes together with so many components.  The very first year I helped to carry one of the Cherry Blossom floats.  It literally takes a team to carry and is definitely fun.”

Valarie Johnson:

Why do you volunteer?

  • “I love volunteering as it allows me to support my favorite causes and activities while meeting some amazing people along the way.”

What’s a Fun Fact about you?

  • “I am a part-time mascot and have performed as Cookie Monster, Cat in the Hat, Arthur, Daniel Tiger, Super Why, and many others!”

Make sure to say “Hi!” to our wonderful Volunteer Engagement Team this Festival Season!

Meet the New Volunteer Program Interns!

This festival season, our wonderful interns work with our entire NCBF team, primarily with our Volunteer Manager Tasha Stiger, as well as with the EEC in order to provide the best experience for our hard working volunteers. In addition, they assist in day-to day operations of the festival in the months leading up to and even after the festival. If you see them around this festival season, make sure to say “Hi!”

Pei Ivins
American University

Hi everyone! My name is Pei Ivins. I am a senior at
American University majoring in psychology with a
double minor in sociology and management. I’m from
West Hartford, CT, but was born in China. At AU, I’m a
part of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service
fraternity, and I’m currently serving as the Service Vice
President. Outside of studying, I enjoy hiking, reading,
and trying new foods around DC.
I volunteered with the National Cherry Blossom
Festival in 2017 and I’m very excited to be a part of it
this year!

Quinn Sargent
George Washington University

Hi All! My name is Quinn Sargent and I am a current
sophomore at GW! I live and grew up in Kennebunk,
ME and one fun (Maine) fact about me is that I am a
certified lobsterwomen! I have a strong passion for
music and film and hope to work the entertainment
field one day.
At home I have four dogs! Two St. Bernard’s and two
Australian Shepard’s. Another cool thing about me is
that I am building my own major at GW, which is based
in communications, business marketing and
management, and music and film. I have my own radio
show on campus, I play club field hockey, and I am a
sister of the Pi Beta Phi sorority at GW. My favorite
food is buffalo wings (with blue cheese), I have a really
bad coffee obsession, and I one day hope to go to
Australia and Ireland!
I am super excited to work with you all!

Step-by-Step Instructions to Sign Up to be a Volunteer!

Welcome New and Returning Volunteers! Here’s the step-by-step process on how to sign up for a volunteer shift at the National Cherry Blossom Festival!


Step 1:

Go to the link HERE to view the available shifts.

Step 2:

Explore the shifts! Click the headlines to see the events and their shifts time.

From here, you can click “[see description]” to see details about the Event and a description of the Volunteer Role:

If you have a certain event in mind, we’ve added an additional search engine feature! You can find that at the top of the lists of shifts:

Step 3:

Simply check the box to the left of shift time to select your preferred shift(s).  You can select as many as you like, but please be mindful to not double-book yourself!

Step 4:

Scroll down to enter your email address and fill out your information. (Asterisk ones are required fields)

Step 5:

Keep scrolling down to sign the waiver. If you have another person interested in volunteering, click “Add a volunteer” to let him/her volunteer with you on your selected shifts. You are able to add up to two volunteers.

Step 6:

Click “Sign Up To Volunteer” and then you’re all done, welcome to the Volunteer Team!

Sometimes the emails will get stuck in your spam, so make sure to mark it as “not spam” so that you won’t miss your shift reminders!


As you may be aware, we post shifts in TWO WAVES.  If you sign up for a shift posted in Wave 1, you will receive a password in your confirmation email.

Enter your password into the blank on the signup page and click submit.

This gives you access to ALL of the Wave 2 events and shifts, an entire week earlier than other volunteers!

Repeat step 1 to 5 to sign up for the additional shifts!

See you at the Festival!

Meet the 2019 BEVY Volunteer Awards Nominees

Linda Alexander


Linda jumped right in with her first event being Parade!  As an usher she helped people find their assigned seating, while dealing with an inquisitive public.  Linda enjoyed her experience especially since she loves to help people.

Andreas Anhalzer

(no photo available)

A first time volunteer, Andreas was a balloon handler at Parade.  His fellow work colleagues that volunteered with him describes him as having a big heart and a big smile.

Gail Broeckel

Gail Broeckel 2

Gail is probably a familiar face for many of you.  As a long time volunteer Gail  has done it all – and twice on Sunday-  as it relates to the Festival!  As a founding member of the Event Execution Committee (EEC) she helps with Volunteer Engagement keeping us up to date on all things Festival related.  She helps recruit volunteers for the festival and the EEC. This year Gail volunteered for Sing Into Spring, Blossom Kite Festival, Petalpalooza, Parade as well as helping out in the office. Gail brings a willingness to serve, even volunteering on her birthday!

Tayla Balkovic

sean and Tayla Kite Cops 2

Although this was Tayla’s first year volunteering with the National Cherry Blossom Festival she jumped right in signing up to be a Lead Volunteer. In her own words: “I very much want to get involved more in the community and engage with others that have the same mind set.”

Tayla volunteered at Pink Tie Party, Blossom Kite Festival, Tidal Basin and Parade.  At Blossom Kite Festival, she took her role as Kite Cop very seriously.  Reporting for duty ready to “police the skies” for any rogue kite fliers.  While that role can be challenging with the crowds and determining whose kite line is who’s she was not deterred.  Tayla truly impressed her fellow volunteers and NCBF staff at Parade.  In her role as West End Usher Manager she stepped up to the plate managing the entire area until relief appeared. Through her leadership of the Ushers, attendees and ticket holders had a great experience.  Once the Parade was over she transitioned to our Dispersal area pitching in when and where needed.  Those around her said Tayla was “On it!” and managed the West End Performance area like a veteran.

Erin Boldi

(no photo available)

As a first-time volunteer Erin jumped right in and volunteered at the Parade Dance and Choir rehearsal and Parade the next day. Working with our merchandise team Erin’s help was greatly appreciated especially with the large and demanding crowds we served.

Termia Brown

Termia Brown 3

In her very first year volunteering with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, she embraced all aspects of the Festival!  First volunteering as a Kite Cop on the grounds of the Washington monument at the Blossom Kite Festival. Next, volunteering as part of the Cherry Blossom 10Miler’s Kids Run, helping to restrain aggressive crowds.  That very same day, she volunteered at Petalpalooza assisting with whatever was needed until the end of the event.  Not content with just volunteering Termia also embraced the Festival as a participant running in the Cherry Blossom 5k the very next morning after very little sleep!  She rounded out her Festival volunteer as a Balloon Handler in the Parade.

Colleen Daddario


Colleen is a member of the Event Execution Committee (EEC) and has embraced her first year on the committee by stepping in and rolling up her sleeves for this Festival season.  She volunteered for several shifts at Union Station including Load-in, Blossom Kite Festival and Parade. Her fellow volunteers say this about her “She works well with others and sets a positive example for other volunteers”.

Shanta and Michal Cardiel

Shanta and Michal Cardiel

The staff at the Tidal Basin were most appreciative of Shanta and Michal Cardiel nominating them as a couple for this year’s Rising Blossom award.  Both new to NCBF, from day one, they were immediately helpful and open to taking care of whatever was needed to be done for the tent or guests.  They were great with visitors and liked by volunteers (lots of laughter).  Finally, they jumped into action when Tidal Basin staff  realized they had no art paper one Sunday morning after a very busy Saturday. Micah searched out a store, jumped on a scooter, working with Shanta by phone when the store had not opened yet, finally bought the needed packets of paper, biked back through massive crowds from the 10mile run and Mall visitors in time before any kids asked to do art. They have stayed late to cover for no show volunteers and happily helped on a very busy Sunday.

Melissa Chin

Melissa Chin

Melissa is a longtime volunteer who has provided years of service.  She also volunteers with the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival.  Melissa isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves.  She was at Union Station and upon seeing the festival Pop-Up slammed she jumped in and assisted even though she wasn’t signed up for a shift. Melissa also volunteered at Blossom Kite Festival.

DeAngelo Johnson

Dee Johnson 2

Dee just completed his 3rd year volunteering with the festival. This year he volunteered on our Operations Crew for Petalpalooza and down at the West-End for Parade.  Friendly and helpful Dee has recruited his friends to work alongside him too!

Daryl Levine

Daryl Levine

Daryl is a familiar face having volunteered for several years.  This year he helped us in Operations for Blossom Kite Festival and Petalpalooza. One of his fellow volunteers nominated Daryl for his help at Petalpalooza.  At Petalpalooza a sponsor dropped off the supplies to make custom T-shirts.  What wasn’t accounted for was the manpower to use an iron press to press on the designs on the front of the T-shirts.  Daryl jumped in working for hours until supplies ran out. His fellow volunteers said “Without Daryl’s help we would’ve had a very difficult time to run this activation.”

Jenny Nguyen

EECand Jenny with Otsuka

Nominated multiple times Jenny is a first year volunteer and she jumped right in agreeing to work several of our events.  She volunteered for Pink Tie Party, Opening Ceremony, Blossom Kite Festival, Petapalooza and Parade! One of her nominators wrote “I met Jenny at the Kite festival and immediately assumed she was a super volunteer and was only made aware that she was a first year volunteer the end of the Festival. Throughout the festival, she was vibrant, attentive and present and a true pleasure to work with. What struck me most about Jenny was her attention to detail and ability to anticipate needs. She actively checked in with the volunteers of the sponsor organization to ensure they were hydrated and comfortable, she was hyperaware of her surroundings and the safety of others and she did not hesitate to jump in, helping in anyway that she could.”

A consistent description about Jenny from others is her smile, helpfulness and her teamwork attitude.

Cherie Nichols

Gail Cherie

Cherie is a member of the Event Execution Committee (EEC) but even outside of that she is always willing to lend a helping hand.  As a member of the Volunteer Engagement working group she keeps us all up to date via the Facebook Group posting events, reminders, information, etc.  This year she volunteered at Blossom Kite Festival, Petalpalooza and Parade. Other volunteers describe her as enthusiastic and generous with her time and as someone that can be counted on.

Josh Strenger

Josh Strenger.jpeg

Josh is no stranger to the Festival having been a volunteer for many years.  Each year he takes on more responsibility.  This year in addition to his role as Operations Manager at Petalpalooza he volunteered at Pink Tie Party, Opening Ceremony, and was a Balloon Manager at Parade.  When asked to volunteer at these additional events he enthusiastically agreed.  His dedication is unmatched, and his can-do attitude greatly appreciated.

Kycia Spriggins


Kycia was nominated multiple times by volunteers, fellow EEC members and staff.  As a member of the Event Execution Committee (EEC) Kycia has embraced her co-chair responsibilities. She volunteered for Opening Ceremony, Student Art Contest, Blossom Kite Festival, Petalpalooza, various office tasks, Parade and her favorite Tidal Basin no less than 5 times! Her smiling face, thoughtful suggestions, willingness to jump in and do anything has been commented on by many.

In addition to volunteering Kycia brought her colleagues to the Tidal Basin- including her boss- as a team building activity. She said “I wanted to share something that was important to me and I thought it was a great way to get folks out of the office and just bond and enjoy nature”.

Ashley Walker

Ashley Walker 2

Nominated multiple times Ashley has dedicated several years of service to the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  As a member of the Event Execution Committee (EEC) her fellow colleagues have been impressed describing her as “prepared, engaged, and full of great ideas to enhance volunteer and guest experiences at the Festival.”  Ashley is probably familiar to many of you with her smiling face, framed by her signature headband Boppers.  Ashley volunteered this year at Sing Into Spring, Blossom Kite Festival and Parade.  One of the volunteers commented: “She saw the need for extra hands at my station and I did not have to even request her help, she was there!  We spent hours making cherry blossom candies with young children and she greeted and interacted with every child as if they were the very first.  We were also tasked with servicing the portable toilets, you guessed it, she had that same great attitude that you would hope to find in every volunteer.”  Fellow volunteers have mentioned “it’s a pleasure and fun to volunteer with her.”

We will announce our winner of the BEVY Awards at our Volunteer Appreciation Reception on Thursday, April 25, 2019.  Stay tuned!

2019 Volunteer Orientation Recap


Thank you so much to everyone that joined us at the Volunteer Orientation! So great to see returning faces and to welcome our newest volunteers.

For those of you who were not able to attend, don’t worry! Click below to view the PowerPoint Presentations that were shared:

If you have any questions regarding the presentations, your role, or anything volunteer related — please let us know at


P.S. Interested in signing up for more shifts? Sign up HERE, or visit your volunteer profile page!
Continue reading “2019 Volunteer Orientation Recap”

Kicking It Off at Union Station: Helpful Tips For Pop-up Shop Volunteers

Opening ceremony for the National Cherry Blossom Festival may be more than two weeks away, but our volunteers are already setting up shop at Union Station!

Starting this weekend, we are hosting our first set of volunteers over at Union Station to help set-up and run our pop-up shop. In order to make this process easier for our festival volunteers, check out these tips:

1.The National Cherry Blossom Festival Pop-up shop is located in the Main Hall of Union Station. A team member will meet you here at the start of your shift.  Click on the map to get a better look.

2. To avoid getting stuck in DC traffic, check for traveling alerts.

For WMATA alerts, check out

3. Be prepared to meet new people and have a great time!


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