Although they will forego the famous festival for another year, the City of Sebastopol is primed to host the eclectic Apple Blossom Parade Sept. 18 on Main Street once again.
After the pandemic nixed Sebastopol’s Apple Blossom Parade and Festival in 2020, the parade is set to resume in-person in the 75th year since its inception, according to Linda Collins, the Sebastopol chamber of commerce’s executive director.
“We're really fortunate that we were able to have it this year at all. It normally is held in April, and then after the parade, whoever wants to goes over to our two-day festival. But unfortunately, this year we're not able to have the festival,” Collins said.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the newly named West County High School before making its way down Main Street and ending at Calder Avenue.
Since its inception in 1946, where Sebastopol celebrated its first Apple Blossom to welcome in the beginning of Spring and the new crops, attendees have lined Main Street to see the over 100 floats and vehicles that make their way through downtown Sebastopol.
“It's kind of a combination of a lot of different float type entries, and it's really just a wonderful hometown experience,” Collins said.
The parade has featured floats and vehicles as well as the formerly known Analy High School and El Molino marching bands. Often at the parade in past years, children were at the forefront with five other marching bands representing and performances from local dance studios like the Sebastopol Ballet School.
Another popular sight for many attendees at the parade is the Dachshunds on display, as the dog owners walk with the little canines, all sporting themed outfits. Back in 2019, the Dachshunds’ theme was pirates.
To participate in the parade, applications must be submitted with payment by Aug. 16 at the latest and can be found through the official website appleblossomfest.com or directly at Sebastopol.org.
In years prior, the festival has garnered anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000 attendees. In contrast, the parade normally gets around 4,000 to 6,000 viewers but is harder to estimate because they don’t sell tickets for the free parade, according to Collins.
Typically, the festival included exhibits from arts and craft vendors as well as food and wine vendors like Lagunitas and Sebastopol’s own Bar B Que Smokehouse Bistro. The festival also included shows from local musical acts, like blues bands, as well as a variety of different performances from ribbon twirlers and more.
The Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce is also celebrating the city’s 100-year anniversary and is currently selling T-shirts at the chamber to commemorate the event. The T-shirts were made by the Greenacre Homes and School, a home and school for boys and young men that provide trauma-informed care.
In the past, boys and men from Greenacres have contributed by building floats for the parade, and at the last parade in 2019, they won Best Float, according to Collins.
“It’s just incredible talent that those young people have,” Collins said.