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7 Top Spring Flower Festivals Around the World

Take in beautiful blooms at spectacular shows this spring.

U.S. News & World Report

7 Top Spring Flower Festivals Around the World

Spring Flowers in a Park

From Portland, Oregon to Lisse, Holland, springtime flowers are bursting into bloom at these vibrant festivals.(Getty Images)

As winter drags on across the Northeast and the Midwest, gorgeous flowers are starting to bloom at colorful festivals across the globe. From the National Cherry Blossom Festival, when the nation's capital becomes awash with pink and white petals, to the acclaimed tulip show in Lisse, Holland, when 800 eye-catching varieties of tulips add a pop of color across the Netherlands, here are seven of the world's most glorious flower festivals to catch this spring.

Portland Rose Festival
Portland, Oregon

When: May 27 - June 12, 2016

It probably comes as no surprise that Portland, dubbed the City of Roses, has had an annual rose festival for 110 years. The star event, the Grand Floral Parade, is the second-largest rose festival in the United States. This year, from May 27-June 12, Portland's three-parade, three-weekend festival featuring 4,000 blooms has a cheeky "Excessive Celebration" theme. "We don't think one can celebrate enough when it comes to hometown community festival pride," says Portland Rose Festival Foundation spokesman Rich Jarvis. "We want to see people doing their funky dance, letting out a whoop and laughing their heads off," he adds. The festival begins on May 27 with fireworks synchronized to music. And on June 4, a "fun and whacky" illuminated Starlight Parade is followed by the Starlight After-Party in the RoZone concert arena. Plus, the 80th Fred Meyer Junior Parade, recognized as America's largest and oldest all-children parade, takes place on Wednesday, June 8. Finally, for the last weekend of the festival, spectators can view traditional Chinese dragon boat races as well as ships from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, and the Canadian Maritime Forces, as part of the city's "Fleet Week."

The National Cherry Blossom Festival
Washington, District of Columbia

When: March 20 - April 17, 2016

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival creates a hanafubuki (or cherry blossom blizzard) in the nation's capital. Among the many events taking place across the city, visitors can catch the Blossom Kite Parade, a Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival along the Potomac River and traditional Japanese music and dance performances at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This year's festival honors the 104th anniversary of  Tokyo's gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship. This spring, about 3,800 cherry trees in 11 varieties will offer a burst of beautiful shades of white and pink blanketing the National Mall's Tidal Basin and memorials. 

Philadelphia Flower Show

When: March 5-13, 2016

A 187-year-old event, the Philadelphia Flower Show is America's oldest and largest indoor flower show. This year celebrates "Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service" and takes visitors through a soaring "Big Timber Lodge," patterned on classic park architecture. Flanked by Native American-inspired totems of flowers and surrounded by pines, birches, juniper and other evergreens and shrubs from national parks, the lodge features American landscapes and renderings of bears, wolves and eagles created from flowers, dried leaves, twigs and seeds. Meanwhile, in the National Park Service's Find Your Park Pavilion, park rangers and live webcams spotlight "Adventure Moments" or real-time views of moments across national parks, such as Old Faithful eruptions at Yellowstone National Park, and dog sled puppies in kennels in Alaska's Denali National Park.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Orlando, Florida

When: March 2 - May 30, 2016

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World Resort has become so popular that this year it's expanded 15 days, from March 2 through May 30. The festival features topiaries, or plant-flower-moss-grass representations, of almost 100 Disney characters. The new "Fab Five" garden has topiaries of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck. Plus, musical instruments are planted nearby in an innovative play system, so kids enjoy in the music-filled playground. And for real music enthusiasts, the "Garden Rocks" outdoor concert series has almost a dozen pop bands including the Village People and Blood, Sweat & Tears. The festival also boasts a butterfly garden with almost 1,000 butterflies that shares the story of Monarchs, the only butterfly species known to make a two-way migration, flying up to 3,000 miles one way. Admission to Epcot theme park is required to enter the festival.

Canadian Tulip Festival
Ottawa, Ontario

When: May 12-23, 2016

In Ottawa, spring ushers in more than 1 million blooming tulips commemorating Canada's special relationship with the Netherlands during World War II. Ottawa sheltered Holland's future Queen Juliana and her family during the war, and Canadian soldiers helped liberate Holland from Nazi occupation. In gratitude, after the war ended in 1945, Queen Juliana sent Ottawa 100,000 tulip bulbs. And the Dutch Royal Family still sends 10,000 bulbs every year. The tulip beds come to life in Commissioners Park along Dow's Lake, and are complemented with weekend fireworks, outdoor entertainers and art workshops. And for the first time, this year's festival will include an indoor tulip and sculpture garden, complete with international performers and art, at Lansdowne Park's Aberdeen Pavilion. 

Chelsea Flower Show

When: May 24-28, 2016

Britain's Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most renowned flower shows hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society, with a history dating back to 1862. This year, the London event's theme is "The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture." Two of its most unusual attractions include "Harrods British Eccentrics Garden," with bizarre garden gadgetry that comes alive every 15 minutes and "Together We Can," an acoustic garden of percussion music inspired by deaf solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. A majestic floral arch will honor the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, who has attended almost all Chelsea Flower Shows during her 63-year reign. But the show's most poignant exhibit will be 300,000 hand-crocheted red poppies covering 9,000 square feet of the Royal Hospital Chelsea grounds that will honor British men and women who served in all wars.  

Keukenhof Park
Lisse, Holland

When: March 24 - May 16, 2016

Keukenhof Park in Lisse, Holland, about a 30-minute drive southwest of Amsterdam, is one of the world's most famous destinations for tulips. Approximately 7 million bulbs and 800 varieties including tulips will burst into bloom at different times from March 2 to May 16. This year's theme is "The Golden Age" and celebrates Holland's 17th-century culture with a mosaic of 100,000 tulip, crocus and grape hyacinth bulbs that depict the epitome of Dutch Old Masters art, global exploration and trade (especially the tulip craze). These iconic bulbs were worth their weight in gold and were such a coveted commodity that they sparked the world's first futures market.

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Edited by Liz Weiss.

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