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Early Pear Promotions Fail to Catch on in Rogue Valley

In 1935, Raymond Ritter of the Pinnacle Packing Co. proposed that the Jackson County, Ore., Chamber of Commerce promote Rogue Valley pears by creating a Pear Blossom Festival similar to the apple festival in Wenatchee, Wash.

The chamber held several events that year.  One invited tourists to take a 30-mile drive through the orchards during spring pear blossom time.  That summer, travelers from the Rogue Valley handed out cards describing the pear industry to people they met on their trips.  A designated Pear Week featured talks, pear pie tasting and a student essay contest on the topic “What I Know About the Pear Industry.”  The high school winner was June Vroman and the junior high winner was Burton Daugherty.  Their essays appeared in Pear-O-Scope, the journal of the Fruit Growers’ League.

Those early attempts to promote pears didn’t become annual affairs as had been desired by the organizers, but they were the forerunners of the present-day Pear Blossom Festival, which each year attracts thousands of people to the Rogue Valley.
 

Sources: "Pear Blossom Festival Proposed." Central Point American, 13 June 1935, p. 1; "What I Know About the Pear Industry." Pear-O-Scope, Dec. 1935, pp. 5-6.

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Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.