The Apple Blossom Festival is upon us

...which probably means shite to you, but to me and my little farming town it's the biggest thing we've got! It started as a simple spring festival in 1920 called Blossom Days and has grown into the largest attraction in Central Washington. I've written several times about the desert in Washington that no one seems to know about. Normally the hills are a thousand shades of brown from the dried sagebrush, tumbleweeds, and other desert vegetation. However, we usually get a decent amount of rain mid to late April, which turns these foothills of the Cascades a spectacular green for a week or two. This also happens to be the time when the apple trees go into bloom.

The festival begins the last weekend in April with the Mariachi Northwest Festival. Wenatchee has a large Hispanic populous that varies from 40% to 60% of the total population depending on the season. Various activities take place over the week and everything is rapped up with a blowout weekend, the first in May. This final weekend of Apple Blossom preludes Cinco de Mayo so generally Mexican Pride is displayed in force. Even the non-Hispanics get into the Cinco de Mayo spirit because, hey, who needs an excuse to celebrate killing the French.

People from all over the west coast inundate the town during the last weekend for a two day 20-block street party on Wenatchee Avenue. Wenatchee is one of the few cities in the United States where cruising is illegal (the driving kind, not the nautical or homosexual kind). Despite the $1000 fine established in an attempt to mellow the mayhem, only five of the tens of thousands of people have actually been cited since the cruising ban has been in effect. To be considered cruising one must pass a police checkpoint three times in two hours. However, the bumper to bumper traffic prevents anyone from actually doing this. Many simply choose to walk the Ave stopping off at the various watering holes along the way.

But for us locals Apple Blossom is basically a ten day party. Sure I have to wake up and go to work in the morning but my boss is in Arizona for the week so I don't have to be in the best condition. Over the last five days I've attended three barbeques and have drank more flaming Sambuca than I care to admit. (Sambuca is fabulous if you like that sort of thing. Take a shot and light it afire, pop a chocolate covered espresso bean in your mouth and masticate, cup the shot glass to put out the fire, then slam it. Tasty!) There are several parties planned for the weekend. And we're rapping things up with a Marvel Supper Heroes game on Sunday (yeah, we're geeks).

If anyone from Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Vancouver or other is planning to attend, let me know, perhaps we can arrange a meeting. You will have to be able to tolerate my motley crew of friends. We are tobacco, alcohol, and herb friendly but nothing more than that. How do you get to Wenatchee? For better directions send me a message or consult with Mapquest or another travel type website.

  • Easiest route from Seattle: Take I-5 north to Everett. Take US 2 east (Stevens Pass) to Wenatchee. 3 hours.

  • Scenic route from Seattle: Take I-90 east (Snoqualmie Pass) until exit number 149 toward Quincy / Wenatchee. Turn onto WA 281 north than WA 28 west until Wenatchee. 3 hours 30 minutes.

  • Easiest route from Spokane: Take I-90 west until exit number 149 toward Quincy / Wenatchee. Turn onto WA 281 north than WA 28 west until Wenatchee. 3 hours 15 minutes.

  • Scenic route from Spokane: Take US 2 west until Orondo. Take US 2 / 97 south to Wenatchee. 3 hours 15 minutes.

  • Easiest route from Portland: Take I-5 north until a little after Tacoma. Take exit number 142A toward North Bend onto WA 18 east. Take I-90 east (Snoqualmie Pass) until just after Cle Elum, take exit number 85 towards WA 970 north to Wenatchee. SR 970 turns into US 97 east (Blewett Pass). 5 hours plus.

  • Scenic route from Portland: Take I-84 to Biggs Junction. Take US 97, which becomes WA 22. Take I-82 west then I-90 east until exit number 149 toward Quincy / Wenatchee. Turn onto WA 281 north then WA 28 west until Wenatchee. 5 hours plus.

My wife and I are regrettably unable to offer hospitality. We share a small apartment with a cat and a chinchilla and there just isn't any room. The hotels are all booked up, so don't count on a last minute reservation. However, people commonly will sleep in their cars, campers, and tents depending on their resources. Also, because of the chaotic nature of the event, people have a tendency to become separated from each other. We can set a meeting place and a meet back place if needs be. So if you're planning on coming send me a message and let me know, it would be nice to finally meet a few noders.