Blossom weekend(s) 2012

How do you get Mother Nature to keep a date?

Expand the schedule.

Turning Blossom Festival from one weekend to three this year proved highly successful, according to Kerry Cobb, executive director of Hood River Chamber of Commerce.

Next year the chamber’s April celebration of the valley’s floral orchard display will be renamed “Blossom Time.”

Cobb explained that events newly associated with Blossom, such as Passport to Wine and Gorge Artists Open Studios, will be scheduled the first weekend, and the second weekend of Blossom Time will be designated “Blossom Fest.”

That’s the weekend people are used to attending predominately mid- to upper valley events such as Blossom Craft Show, Parkdale Grange Dinner, West Side Fire Department breakfast, Parkdale Fire Department Casino Night and others.

Cobb said the third weekend of Blossom Time will emphasize downtown Hood River.

“We got really good feedback. People were glad to have it expanded,” Cobb said. “For many visitors it’s just about the blossoms, and we have some people who come every year for certain events, and they want to know exactly when these events happen. We want to be clear on the traditional things and then expand it for everybody else to do stuff.”

As a measure of the size of the Blossom Fest attendance, Cobb said the chamber handed out double the number of Blossom Fest guides this year.

“We had far higher numbers, particularly the first couple weekends,” she said. “The final weekend, there was not as much scheduled so people came out just for the blossoms.”

That said, Gorge White House, Packers Orchard and Bakery and Foothills Alpacas “were all jammed, and we had gorgeous weather all three weekends,” according to Cobb.

The blossoms peaked on the second weekend and stayed full in the third weekend.

“The timing was right; we had blossoms pretty much the whole time. It’s still beautiful,” Cobb said.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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