Hey, welcome to post 3000, my friends.
Remember: the contest was a blog post in which I would be given a subject and a starting letter of the alphabet. I was to write a post in which I discussed that subject and cycled through the alphabet with each sentence beginning with a word whose first letter is the next letter in the alphabet. A 26 sentence post. I have done this a few times before over the years.
Golly, I used to attend the Apple Blossom Festival ever year. Hey, I can be just as nostalgic as the next Bevboy. I would look forward to the festival every year, saving my money so that I could splurge on hot dogs and cotton candy. Junk food was my friend.
Know somethin'? Legend has it that my parents as youngsters attended the Apple Blossom Festival. Maybe that is why I clung so tenaciously to this "tradition", even when it became unwieldy, inconvenient, a pain in the tuchus, for me to get there, and long after there was any excitement or interest left in my body to go, and long after I would look around me and realize I was there by myself.
Now, don't get me wrong: I loved the idea of the event. Only in the Valley would they celebrate the blossoming of the apples and create a festival around it. Probably because of the bucolic nature of the Valley, the Festival became a symbol for its prosperity, even though it was largely built on the backs of people who would toil in fields for 12 hours a day, or slave in inhospitable conditions in some poorly-ventilated building. Quite a "tradition", huh?
Really, when you think about it, the Apple Blossom Festival is more of a symbol for how workers with poor educations and even poorer prospects are exploited by the wealthy farmers who work them to the point where they have no soul, no spirit, and are too beaten down to improve their situation. Sure makes me glad I stayed in school and got an education. To make them appreciate their lot in life, if I had children, I would make them pull some shifts picking strawberries, digging potatoes, plucking apples, one hopes working with people who have to be there to put food on the table.
Usually, traditions don't change much, and the Festival is no exception. Very well-intentioned people put on the same events years after year, in the thinking that it is what people want. Women, young ones, every year would vie for the crown of Queen Annapolisa. (Xavier Cugat, who loved his women young, would be delighted to be on the judging panel.) Yet these women were exploited in their own way: at one point they had to be virgins for goodness' sake. Zounds!
Able-bodied women who were maybe not considered traditionally attractive, or who had lain with a man, or who had had children, were not welcome to put their names forward. Because of many years of public outcry, many of these rules are being relaxed. Cross dressers, though, still need not apply!
Don't get me wrong: The Festival has some good points about it, but as I have grown older, the seamy underbelly has become visible to me, and I like it less and less. Even the most innocent of us have to grow up sometime.
Frankly, did you expect any less?