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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