Blossom Time: A festival for everyone

Starting this weekend, it’s time to celebrate Blossom Festival.

The orchards of Hood River valley have emerged in full, and those namesake blossoms are a splendor to behold.

In Hood River, Parkdale, Odell, and all parts in between, the next three weekends are full of events that should appeal to visitors and locals alike.

To list just a few: Blossom Craft Fair and Quilt Show ... Parkdale Grange dinner ... West Side Fire Department pancake breakfast ... Parkdale Fire Department casino night . . . History days at the History Museum of Hood River County.

Many businesses and organizations time their annual events to happen during Blossom Festival weekends. This year’s compatriots include, Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, Apple Valley Store Dessert Party, Columbia Gorge Hotel’s Art of the Gorge and Hood River Lavender Farms’ spring sale.

In all cases, these are locally-based activities that our neighbors have either organized or are directly involved in carrying out. Most events are free, other than the cost of such local delectables as barbecue, pancakes, wine, and pastry.

The valley is a place of agricultural riches, visitor attractions and commercial enterprises that transform local bounty, whole or via value added activities, into products for export or local consumption.

We are blessed to live in Hood River valley, where, moments from town, can be found a wide array of things to taste, see and do.

Check out the Panorama section, to appear in the April 13 edition. Find a few things you’d like to do, and enjoy this extended neighborhood party that celebrates the vibrant agricultural and entrepreneurial spirit of the valley.

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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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