Festival blooms despite moist and cool weather

From staff reports

April 19

Three weeks ago, the Chamber of Commerce was worried.

Would Blossom Festival happen without blossoms?

The early blooms on the world-famous Hood River County orchards were cause for concern.

The concerns, happily, were for nought. Ample blossoms festooned the pear, apple, and cherry trees throughout the valley.

“People were delighted to see that much still in bloom,” said Chamber operations manager Melanie Gillette on Monday.

While the disparate events make it difficult to gauge total festival turnout, Gillette said reports indicate that the cool, moist weather did not keep people from attending.

“Overall, people did alright, especially everyone with food,” Gillette said.

“We got a lot of reports from people who did as well as 2004, which was a record year, and a couple of them said it was better,” Gillette said.

First-time event Blossom Glass Gallery had a successful opening night on Friday, and a continuous stream of visitors despite the construction work on Front and Cascade streets.

Gillette added that at two Festival standbys, the reports were bright: Parkdale Grange dinner had a “fantastic,” turnout, Gillette said, and the Westside Fire Department Sunday breakfast had “a very good turnout.”

The crowd at Mt. Hood Towne Hall was another example.

“I love the colors,” Sue Corrada of Pine Grove said on Saturday. She was speaking of one-foot-square swatches of cloth — yet she could have been talking about the flowers nature had on display during the Blossom Fest.

Corrada attended the Mt. Hood Towne Hall Quilt Show, one of more than 30 festival events held Saturday and Sunday throughout the Hood River Valley.

“I definitely hope to win that quilt,” Corrada said pointing to the quilt block entries in the annual Rather Bee Quilters contest; this summer, the group will assemble the quilt and raffle it for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, at the county’s fall agriculture celebration, October’s Harvest Festival.

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