Usually, it’s the month of October when women are urged to “Think Pink.” However, there’s an event each April in Howard County called Blossoms of Hope that pulls double duty as an occasion to celebrate the beautiful flowering cherry trees of spring and raise awareness about breast cancer.
Inspired by the cherry trees that bloom in nearby Washington, D.C., each spring, Howard County, Md., officials decided in 2004 to create a program to plant Kwanzan cherry trees to enhance the area. The effort, dubbed Blossoms of Hope, became a three-part mission to beautify the area, attract visitors and give back to the community.
To benefit the community, officials created a campaign to utilize the vibrant pink cherry blossoms to help raise awareness about breast cancer. They also created events to raise funds for the Howard Hospital Foundation earmarked for Claudia Mayer / Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center. Since then, more than 1,600 Kwanzan cherry trees have been planted along roadways, in parks and at area attractions, and more than $225,000 has been raised for the cause. Locate cherry trees that have been planted by clicking on the link.
This year’s events include the Blossoms of Hope Annual Juried Art Show Thursday, April 16. The show will be held at the Columbia Art Center Galleries and runs through May 3, 2015. This year’s theme is Portraits and Profiles: Inspirations of My Life. An awards reception will be held Friday, April 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
If you’re into fashion, you’ll enjoy taking part in Pretty in Pink on Friday, April 17, 2015 at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center. This event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. Enjoy shopping, a seated luncheon and a fashion show.
If you enjoy hitting the links, plan to participate in the 7th Annual Pink Greens Golf Classic on Friday, April 24, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Play 18 holes of golf on the championship course at Turf Valley. Your entry fee includes breakfast, golf cart, soft drinks and beer on the course, a closing reception buffet with soft drinks and beer, door prizes and more.
Proceeds from all events go to Blossoms of Hope to benefit the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center.
In addition to participating in any of the above events, you have the unique opportunity to sponsor a cherry tree or dogwood tree.
There are three options. The first option is for you to purchase a Blossoms of Hope Kwanzan Cherry or Native Dogwood tree for $225.
Another option is to sponsor a tree in the Maggie J. Brown Grove on Lake Kittamaqundi at Kennedy Gardens for $1,000. There are only 20 sponsorships available. With your sponsorship, a sign with your name will be placed near the tree.
You may also choose to sponsor a Legacy Tree for $5,000. Three saplings from the Japanese cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. have been given to the city of Columbia, Md. They have been planted on the far side of Lake Kittamaqundi in the Patrick Kennedy Garden. If you are one of the three Legacy Tree sponsors, a plaque bearing your name will be placed near a tree.
There are several places you can see the cherry blossoms in Ellicott City. Swing by the Howard County Welcome Center on Main Street, Gary Memorial Church on Daniels Road and Founders’ Grove at Centennial Park.
The Wayside Inn, a historic bed and breakfast in Ellicott City, is a short drive from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The Wayside Inn offers six beautiful rooms, as well as a gourmet breakfast to start each day.