Become Rhode Island's Next Cherry Blossom Princess!

The State Society of Rhode Island and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council are looking for the “Ocean State’s” next Cherry Blossom Princess.

Each year a new representative is crowned to represent Rhode Island and join other Princesses representing other States in the National Conference of State Societies’ Cherry Blossom Princess Program during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. The 2017 Cherry Blossom Princess Program will run from April 2 - April 8, 2017.

The Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Princess is a young woman 19-24 years old that is annually selected to represent Rhode Island during the Festival.

Organizers note that this is not a beauty pageant. The winners will be chosen based on their background, academics, leadership, community service and future ambitions. 

“We are very eager to welcome Rhode Island's next Cherry Blossom Princess as she serves as an important role model for the Ocean State,” said Dr. Robert D. Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

The Princess will represent Rhode Island at congressional receptions, visit with international dignitaries, attend the Cherry Blossom Ball, engage in cultural and educational activities and participate in the National Cherry Blossom parade.  During the Cherry Blossom Ball, one Princess is chosen by random to become the U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen and has the opportunity to travel to Japan in May. 

In addition, the Cherry Blossom Princess will also host the annual Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival, which happens each year in the historic Blackstone River Valley cities of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket. The Eight Annual Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival is tentatively scheduled for early spring 2017.

“The State Society of Rhode Island is excited at the opportunity to continue hosting the Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Princess during her trip to Washington,” said Chris Simeone, Chairman of the State Society, which is based in Washington.  “Rhode Island has benefited from being represented by great Rhode Islanders in the past four years, who have used the program as a platform to showcase their appreciate for the State and the work they are doing in the Rhode Island and Washington communities.”

Princess applications are due by January 1, 2017. Please contact Chris Simeone, Chairman of the State Society of Rhode Island, at, and Geraldine Barclay King, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council Program Director, at 401-724-2200, or by e-mail at, for application details.

More about the Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival is online at


About the State Society of Rhode Island

The State Society of Rhode Island (SSRI) is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization in Washington, D.C., serving as a “home away from home” for Rhode Islanders and friends of Rhode Island.  It offers opportunities to engage and network in the nation’s capital through social, community service, cultural, and educational events.  It is intended to promote fellowship, goodwill, and amicable relations among Rhode Islanders who live in the Nation’s Capital, as well as preserve the history and traditions of Rhode Island.

About the National Conference of State Societies

The National Conference of State Societies (NCSS) is the non-profit, voluntary umbrella association for state and territorial societies in the national capital area. At one time or another, all 50 states have had active societies as well as the District of Columbia and our 5 territories: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and CNMI.

State society officers first informally met in the late 1930s to share ideas and programs. In cooperation with the D.C. Commissioners and with the Washington Board of Trade, the state societies helped to re-launch the first post-World War II Cherry Blossom Festival in 1948. State societies re-started the pre-war tradition of sponsoring state cherry blossom princesses and the U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen in that year to promote peaceful relations with Japan. NCSS is the only civic organization that has sponsored the National Cherry Blossom Festival® events every year for 67 years without interruption.

The informal association of state officers became a formal organization on April 3, 1952 when President Harry Truman signed Public Law 82-293 that gave a congressional charter to the Conference of State Societies in 1952.

About the Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival

The Cherry Trees of the Blackstone is a joint initiative of The Pawtucket Foundation and Blackstone Valley Tourism Council to work with the Cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls to plant cherry trees along Roosevelt Avenue in the two communities and raise money for a dedicated Landscape Improvement Fund. In the spring of 2009, 65 rancho cherry trees were purchased and planted in the project area.  The plantings have also inspired the hosting of the Annual Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival and an annual Earth Day clean up. In its first year, the Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival built a strong foundation for future celebrations of the Cherry Trees planted along Roosevelt Avenue in Central Falls and Pawtucket.  More than 400 people ca me out to run, walk, eat and celebrate during the inaugural 2010 event and an additional 20 trees were planted on the west side of Roosevelt Avenue.  In 2011, more than 1800 runners participated in the various races held during the event.

Louis Yip and Sunny Ng, business partners and the developer of M-Residential, were prime movers behind the project offering a $30,000 investment.  Collette Vacations as well as Storage America, Anthony Gudas, and the Chinese American Church also contributed to the project.

The Cherry Trees have helped to transform this once industrial corridor into a vibrant walkable streetscape.  Organizers hope that the Annual Festival will continue to draw attention and dollars to help pay for continued maintenance and planting of future trees as the neighborhood continues to revitalize.