rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Rural Festivities

This weekend is the culmination of Johnny Appleseed Days, one of the two local events intended to draw tourists to this isolated backwater. The other, Gold Nugget Days, commemorates the gold rush era discovery of the Dogtown Nugget, the largest single lump of gold ever found in the United States, which was found not far north of the town, on the west fork of the Feather River. Johnny Appleseed Days is a relic of the time when the ridge was a fairly important apple growing area. The orchard at the end of my block is one of only a few that still remains.

I did not attend the events. I went the first year I lived here, and found it rather depressing. There was a brief parade, mostly of old cars, a few music groups on flatbed trucks, groups of kids in farmer costumes, and a high school band imported from one of the valley towns, since the local high school does not support a music program, in spite of its having over 1000 students. The parade was followed by a gathering in a small park, with an arts and crafts show featuring things made from pine cones and paintings of the type displayed at shopping center art festivals; weathered barns, ducks, puppies, vases of flowers- the sort of paintings that people buy to match the upholstery on the couch. I think there was an apple pie bake-off, and there were local music groups on the small bandstand, most of them playing bad renditions of country pop music.

In fact, the only thing I enjoyed that day was watching the beat-up skateboard punks doing tricks in the parking lot, until they were run off by the police. On the whole, I had to compare the experience quite unfavorably with any afternoon hanging out in Pasadena or Santa Monica. Since then, I have avoided all of the local festivals, preferring to enjoy the quiet which falls over the rest of the town when the population is busy with the festivities. Just me and the raccoons and the deer, undisturbed by lawn mowers and leaf blowers and chain saws. I wish we had more of these events.

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