Every April, since just after World War II, Sebastopol’s population nearly doubles as the surrounding apple orchards begin to blossom with snowy white petals.
Some of the crowd comes for the blossoms, but more than 10,000 others line Main Street for the annual Apple Blossom Festival parade and linger for the weekend at Ives Park for the live music, crafts, foods, wine tasting and other small town flavors and festivities.
With a population of 7,800 the other 363 days of the year, Sebastopol will open its streets, neighborhoods, shops and sidewalks for this weekend’s (April 13 and 14) Apple Blossom Festival crowd, lured here by the Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce, dozens of volunteers and local businesses.
The parade down Main Street kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. from the Analy High School staging area, ending six blocks south, just past the post office. Ives Park gates open immediately after, and parade winners are announced later that day at 1:30 p.m. With nearly 100 entries this year, the parade is expected to last for 90 minutes. Parade and festival goers should watch carefully for special weekend parking restrictions in the downtown Sebastopol vicinity. (See the map of closed streets below.)
Local Gravenstein apple trees have been in bloom since last week, with the peak of the season yet to come. While many local orchards have been replaced in recent years by grape vineyards, Sebastopol’s Gold Ridge hills and other western slopes around Graton, Hessel and Green Valley still offer puffy white landscapes worth a bicycle ride or car side trip.
This year’s parade Grand Marshall is Mia del Prete, Sebastopol’s reigning citizen of the year. Nearly all the local schools’ marching bands will be on display, and crowd favorites like the marching dachsunds, spitting llamas and joking Shriners are returning.
The festival includes two days of live music from two stages, highlighted by a Sunday blues lineup, with a finale by blues veteran Joe Louis Walker. (All music is free with festival admission.) The complete parade and festival lineup is available in the official event program inserted in this newspaper. Another favorite festival attraction is the Pacific Market wine and crafts beer tent, where a $20 wristband provides for a full tasting session each day.
The Apple Blossom Festival is the local chamber’s major fundraiser each year, supporting year-round efforts to promote its 300-plus members and other local businesses.
The chamber’s funding needs have grown this year because of the organization’s goal to support the many local businesses that were impacted by the February floods.
The weekend weather forecast is looking favorable for blossoms, bees and the buzzing festival crowds.
Road closures for Apple Blossom Parade
On Saturday, April 13, the city of Sebastopol will be holding the annual Apple Blossom Parade, and it will be necessary to post the following streets for “No Parking” from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day.
The “No Parking” areas will be posted to include the following:
• Petaluma Avenue — entire street
• High School Road — Between East Hurlbut and North Main Street
• Main Street — Between Eddie Lane, south to Palm Avenue
• Calder Avenue — Between South Main Street and High Street
• High Street — Between Bodega Avenue and Willow Street
• Willow Street — Between South Main Street and High Street
• North side of Willow Street — Between High Street to the fire department
• East Hurlbut Avenue — entire street
• Wallace Avenue — entire street
• Taft Street — entire street
• Bonnardel Avenue — entire street
• Sunset Avenue — entire street
Also, no traffic other than parade traffic will be allowed on the above areas of Main Street, Calder Avenue, High Street and Willow Street between 9:45 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Eddie Lane will be closed at the west entrance on that date (at North Main Street). The only access to Eddie Lane will be from the east side from Johnson Street.
Residents in these areas should keep their vehicles off the street from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The Sebastopol Police Department and Public Works Department would like to remind you that during the Apple Blossom Festival and Parade on April 13th Petaluma Avenue will be turned into a two-way street.