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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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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