The valley, with its rich, volcanic soil and temperate climate is perfect for growing fruit. So for as far as the eye can see here, we have apple and pear orchards and occassional cherries. The area is heavily reliant on fruit production.
In April when the orchards are bursting forth in blooms, we have Blossom Festival.
In October when the fruit has been picked we have Harvest Festival.
Blossom Festival is always the third weekend in April.
There have been quite a few years when the blossoms were already finished - blown away and with the trees leafing out - when Blossom Festival arrived. Even so there would be some late apple varieties or places in the cooler Upper Valley that still had blossoms for the tourists to see.
But this is the first year that we know of (we've lived here fifteen years) that at Blossom Time, there are NO blossoms!
They are there, but still days of warm sun away from opening.
More evidence of that old global cooling!
But the Festival must go on, and the tourists from around the state don't know that there are no blossoms...until they get here!
My favorite part is the plant sales.
At this garden club sale I bought six different varieties of dahlia tubers, a Jacob's Ladder, a red Jupiter's Beard, a sedum and a Lady's Mantle.......for $10!! Score!
And I LOVE this sale of shrubbery...
Last year I came home with a truck load for my mother and me and spent only about $60.
The quilt show is a Blossom Festival staple.
I used to participate in this. When I had time for quilting. When was that? Oh yeah- when I had a houseful of kids. I'm not sure how that worked. My block even won this contest once.
And there's lots of this all over the valley...
Arts and Craft shows
...and music, wine tasting, antiques....we're full of culture here.
I'm not far from the highway that is the main artery between the upper and lower valley so this is what I do.
Stick out a sign and hope somebody shows up.
For the first time the Gorge Artist Open Studio Tour is happening after Blossom Fest so I am using the opportunity to clean the old out of my studio with a sale before the tour.
Oldies, seconds. The good stuff is in a craft boutique at the Towne Hall and in the galleries in town.