March roars in like a lion and leaves as quiet as a lamb. Whether the roars come from the howling meteorological activity of winter’s wane or the flurry of parties, festivals and parades is hard to say. Either way, here are three activities you will encounter this month, so button up. —Carten Cordell
1. Trying to catch the cherry blossoms at peak bloom
It happens every spring. A guest from abroad plots a pleasant visit to NoVA during the critical mass of cherry blossom blooming, ensuring the best pastel-pink shots for their social media profiles.
But every year is like playing roulette, guessing on whether a late arctic blast or sultry spring will plunge your plans down the Tidal Basin.
“It is nearly impossible to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days before the peak bloom,” states the National Park Service’s website.
Apart from becoming an amateur meteorologist, your best bet is to take in the scores of activities— art shows, parties, kite festivals—set for this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 to April 13.
2. Balancing your St. Patrick’s Day Plans
Someone you know is having a pub crawl, another a house party and yet a third wants to catch a St. Patrick’s parade. Settling your itinerary for this raucous celebration can send your head spinning faster than when the snakes left Ireland.
The City of Alexandria got a jump on St. Patrick’s Day early with its annual parade, which was March 1, but Manassas has it’s parade slated for March 15. Fairfax County will also be the site of numerous St. Patrick’s celebrations.
3. March Madness bracket gets busted
Just as tough as predicting the cherry blossoms is prognosticating Wichita State’s romp through the NCAA tournament. No matter whether you pick your teams by an intense statistical breakdown, their uniform color palette or because you drove past the campus one time on the interstate, upsets will ruin your bracket.
Luckily, you can commiserate at any number of NoVA’s top sports bars—altars to the armchair athlete. Find a listing of our top picks at northernvirginiamag.com/nightlife/sports-bars/ or pick your own in our Best of NoVA 2014 survey at northernvirginiamag.com/best-of-survey.