Saturday went well for Brian Alexander and Sarah Lewis.
It was the 77th Sevastopol Apple Blossom Festival, but the first. Alexander and Lewis found a parking space between the parade route and the festival site and were able to walk to both locations. His timing was perfect; Shortly after entering Ives Park for the festival, a long line began to form. And Lewis received his first compost bin at one of the stalls.
"I love apples, food and music," Alexander said. "You can't go wrong with that."
Overall, the festival was a joyful celebration of community, best expressed through the Jewels of Sevastopol. There was lots of tie-dye, lots of long sleeve tattoos and lots of cheering for everyone.
"There is a very special culture in Sebastopol," said Polo Greco, who gave his girlfriend Baya Hernández an apple blossom. "Like art and its people, they speak for themselves."
Greco grew up in Sevastopol. He has been coming to this festival since he was a child and says that not much has changed.
This nostalgic background is good, thought Greco. "And we had fun today."
He and Hernandez queued for beers. They had only just entered the territory, but they already knew where they were going. "Funnel cake," they said in unison.
In the carnival area, children jumped on the bouncy castle and screamed while rocking on the pirate ship. The children's shaded area featured glitter tattoos, face painting and tutorials on how to catch chicks. (They were real chickens). Veterans Hall was open for art exhibitions, and craft vendors displayed their wares elsewhere.
Festival-goers, and there were many, came for pulled pork sandwiches, funnel cakes, fried alligator tails, bowls of ice cream, taco shells, beer and apple cider. The line for the world's best corn dog may have been the longest in the world.
Amidst the hubbub, snippets of the usual conversation one would hear at any folk festival could be heard.
"If I hear you cry, let's go home."
"This (handmade vase) was your sister's favorite!" »
"I think we'll try to find another pillow that screams. Because we bought one and it broke. They don't have pillows to scream like they used to."
The festival was rounded off with two music rooms. To get from one to the other, one had to turn left into Ronert Park, past Cotati, Santa Rosa and Forestville, and left out of Sebastopol. Of course, the place names on the signs were only there to guide anyone trying to navigate the festival. Miriya Volk, the new director of the Sevastopol Chamber of Commerce and Industry, suggested signage as another way to bring a local flavor to the event.
To be honest, it didn't take a lot of tricks. People were happy to have an excuse to lie in the sun.
"It's the beginning of summer for most people," said Tess Ostopovich, who volunteered at the wine station. "He takes everything out."
"And we've had great weather this year," added Marty Roberts, who was about to replace Ostopovich and take a turn.
We have never After a brief spell of a long winter of mild warmth, Saturday could not have been better.
As always, the Apple Blossom Festival began with a magnificent parade along the main street in southern Sevastopol.
The street was full of candy: lots of lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, and little packets of skittles were thrown from the carts, and the lollipops lay like snowflakes on the sidewalk. The parade brought together representatives from local businesses and community groups. There were middle and high school bands and the kids performed 1950's dance moves or ballet folk moves.
Everyone seemed to agree that this was the biggest turnout for the Apple Blossom Parade in years. Sevastopol had hoped to meet in 2020 when the festival was canceled due to COVID and scaled back two years later due to the pandemic.
"It's really cool to get up and go out and see all the little kids doing what they're doing," said Jo Dunham from Sebastopol. "Another generation at play."
Dunham was there with a large group that included friends and family. One of them was El Molino High School's Camille Hedges, a 1995 graduate who managed to secure seats along the parade route on Saturday morning. Almost every corner of Main Street was busy on Friday night, but Hedges knows a secret spot that people don't know about because it seems to be blocking the way. The location must remain secret.
Hedges and other Sebastopol parents have been saying this for nearly a decade, since their children started preschool.
People watched the parade from porches, sidewalks, and truck bodies. Lawrence Jaffe was observed from almost everywhere at once. He is the head of property in Sevastopol, the city dweller of the year. To celebrate, Jeff's wife printed and cut out copies of the face and glued them onto sticks for people to use as masks. From time to time Jeff would smile out of the tank and the other Jeff would smile.
It was boring and maybe a little plain. That, of course, was a big part of the attraction.
“I watch a lot of the news and usually at the rally someone says, 'It's his fault,'” said Brian Alexander on the festival grounds while sitting in the shade with Lewis. "But now I'm surrounded by happy people. And next to a very nice woman."
Really good night.
You can contact Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or email [email protected]. @Skinny_Post on Twitter.