49th annual Blossom Festival opens Wednesday

Traces of snow still remain in the higher areas above Hood River Valley, but the expanses of white that matter most are the orchard flowers signaling the 2003 Hood River Blossom Festival.

To learn more, turn to the annual three-part Panorama section inside this edition. Panorama gives the full schedule of events along with features about the life and times of the people of Hood River County.

Blossom Festival runs Saturday and Sunday throughout the county from the shores of the Columbia River to the flanks of Mt. Hood. Numerous events await locals and visitors alike starting Saturday morning.

Events include the Blossom Craft Fair at the county fairgrounds in Odell, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, where growers and crafts people from throughout the Gorge present their talents. The fair includes the Odell Garden Club plant sale on Saturday, and Sunday’s performance by the Mid-Columbia Junior Orchestra.

Throughout the Hood River Valley find the Music and Arts Fest in Parkdale, quilt show and sale and artisans’ market at Mt. Hood Towne Hall, Blossom Dessert Party at Apple Valley store on Tucker Road, Parkdale Grange Blossom Dinner, and meals served by Dee and West Side fire departments.

A full schedule of events is in the first Panorama section, “Blossoms.” The section also features “A Grower’s Journal,” courtesy of Odell orchardist Mike Oates. From April 2002 to March 2003, Oates recorded his activities as a grower, school board member, and industry representative. “Blossoms” also contains a listing of Gorge events for 2003, and articles on this month’s Earth Day events and the 20th anniversary of the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler based in Cascade Locks.

Next, the “Community” section tunes into the music of the Gorge. Articles include features on three local bands and a solo guitarist, and musings by Gorge Winds director Sam Grotte on “What’s in a band name.” Throughout the section find a listing of 70 bands, soloists, and large and small ensembles based in the Hood River area, what their music is like, and how to contact them.

Finally, “Reflections” section brings out the writings of 11 area residents, aged 1-102, in “A Year in the Life of the Young and the Old.”


Blossom Festival is Hood River County’s first rite of spring, and the public can get a start on the season at the “Spring Fling” tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Hawk’s Ridge Assisted Living Community.

The band Django’s Cadillac (see “Community”) will perform, and Rosauers has donated refreshments. The event is free but donations are accepted. All senior citizens who wish to attend are welcome. Hawks Ridge is located at 1795 8th St., off Pacific Avenue in the Heights.

The event is sponsored by the Hood River Valley High School chapter of the National Honor Society.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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