Meet at the Post Office at 10am, will walk to Festival at 10:10 am.
May pole dancing, music of the 40's, and vintage motors will soon bring back memories of yesteryear. The Blossom Festival will bring a day of family fun on March 23 from 10-4pm in the Saratoga Heritage Orchard and Civic Center area. Produced the the Saratoga Historical Foundation, the free event is reminiscent of the original Blosson Festival that debuted in 1900 and was popular for over 40 years. Click here to see the program of events.
History of the Event
In 1900 Edwin Sidney (Everlasting Sunshine) Williams organized a celebration when the drought ended and called it the Blossom Festival. Wanting people to enjoy the orchards blossoms, invitations were issued and hundreds responded. The day was filled with food, games, and a blossom and garden tour. Each succeeding year, the event grew in popularity with 20,000 attending one year. The Blossom Festival was held each year until after WWII. San Jose saw the monetary potential of the event and started the Fiesta de Roses festival.
The event features music of the 1930's and 1940's with six local entertainment groups playing on the hour; a dance around the May Pole with Gary Breitbard as caller, Sorcerer's Apprentice fiddlers and the Mad Molly dancers. The audience is invited to participate in the dancing. Music includes the Saratoga Taiko Drums; Sunrise, a country and western duo; Steven Gary; Casual Sax; and the Rythmaires dixlieland jazz band. Wandering musicians, Angelina and Alicia Cress, Sandra Whelan, Tina Liddie, and more will add to the ambience of the day.
Two Girl Scout troops have made blossoms and will be handing them out during the day in the spirit of yeasteryear. During the original Blossom Festival, vistors would go home with bouquets of blossoming branches and wildflowers.
Parade of Blossoms
Artists from three local art organizations will line up favorite paintings of the blossoming orchard for a "parade of blossoms" in the Heritage Orchard. Participating organizations include the Saratoga Community of Painters, Saratoga Contemporary Artists, and Los Gatos Art Association En Plein Air. Many will be selling paintings, cards, and other items as well as demonstrating en plein air painting.
The Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford, the Santa Clara Model A Ford, and the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association will be showing cars and motors. Five vintage bicycles including a 1900's High Wheeler from a private collection will also be on display.
Old Films and Historical Figures
For those interested in learning about life in the early days--two films depicting the Santa Clara Valley in the 1930’s and the history of prunes will be shown all day in the historic Warner Hutton house. After viewing, people can taste a prune.
Over 20 costumed Saratoga historical figures will be available from 12-2 to answer questions about the past—including Sunshine Williams. Sunshine Williams, often called the father of the Blossom Festival, organized the first Blossom Festival in 1900. His optimistic approach to life earned Edwin Sidney Williams the moniker of “Sunshine.”
The Vintage Tea Dance Society will come dressed in vintage apparel. Any who would like to can get in the spirit of the day and come dressed in period clothes from the[masked]’s.
There will be many activities for children including a petting zoo; story hour every hour in the Warner Hutton House and sponsored by the Saratoga Library; old fashioned children’s games led by the costumed Saratoga History Museum docents and three activity tables organized by the Girl Scouts, Saratoga Federated Church, and the Japanese American Museum. A scavenger hunt is also planned for all ages and with prizes.
Many organizations will have informative displays including the Santa Clara Valley Beekeeper Guild, Master Gardeners, the California Native Plant Society, Saratoga Heritage Tree Society, Ecopia and more. Local craftspeople and artists will also have tables selling a variety of items from plants to jewelry.
Poets and the Orchard
Local Poet Laureates such as Los Gatos Poet Laureate Erica Goss will capture the beauty of the orchard in verse and will be participating from 11am-12pm on that day. A docent-led walk of the orchard will be given from 11am to 3pm by the Saratoga Historical Foundation.