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Dogwood Daze Day-Long Festival

04/22/2015 12:29PM ● By Sue Ralston

Something's Blooming in Dunsmuir

May 2015
By Sue Ralston
Photo: Richard DuPertuis

Dunsmuir's annual May celebration of its dogwood trees started about six years ago, when Cindy Foreman, then owner of Brown Trout Gallery, planted four of the flowering trees to honor family members. It blossomed when the idea caught on with other residents and now more than 50 dogwoods have been planted around town, mostly on Sacramento and Dunsmuir Avenues.

Dogwood Daze has grown into a day-long small-town festival with a lineup of events offering something for everyone. “The first year we held Dogwood Daze, our main goal was to honor those who planted trees, show them off , and unveil the dedication plaque. It was mostly about the trees that year,” says Barbara Cross of Dunsmuir, who has helped organize the event since the beginning.

Many of the trees will be in full, vivid bloom with colors ranging from white to pink to salmon to dark rose. But the day isn’t just about the flowering trees. Th e most popular event is the pie social and sale, a fundraiser that benefits the Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Historical Society. “Local people make and donate the pies, and there’s just a huge variety,” says Cross. “They start selling at 10 am, and if you don’t get there early, you might be out of luck.” Last year, 172 pies were sold in the first four hours.

The Botanical Gardens, which showcase native dogwoods, will provide free docent-led tours a few times during the day. Th e library hosts a “gently-used” book sale. A grower’s market and plant sale will be held on Sacramento Avenue. A citywide yard sale is also held, and a map with listings is provided at the Chamber of Commerce. The everpopular Doggie Parade takes place in the afternoon. “It’s really fun. People dress up their dogs and parade them down the street to get judged. About 30 people participated last year,” says Richard Dinges, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

For a touch of small-town Americana, don’t miss the Soapbox Derby races, with kids as young as 3 racing their handmade cars. Mayor “Big Dave” Keisler originated the race and organizes it each year. “Each Saturday in May, I set up a workshop in the park to help the kids make their soapbox cars. Th e whole town gets together and builds them,” he says. Dunsmuir Avenue is closed and the cars start at the top of the gently sloping hill and race to the bottom. “People line the streets to watch them. It’s a really great activity for the kids.” Adults have an opportunity to race, too, on Sunday.

Live music can always be heard on the patio of the Victor Martin Cultural Center. Th e Siskiyou Arts Museum will host the Dunsmuir Garden Club’s annual flower and plant sale, and will have plant starts for sale. Tickets to the Garden Club Home Garden Tour will be sold inside the museum.

Says Dinges, “Th ere truly is something for all ages and all interests. It’s getting more and more popular each year, and becoming a signature Dunsmuir event.”

Dunsmuir Dogwood Daze
Saturday, May 23, 10 am until evening
Most events are free and take place along Dunsmuir and Sacramento Avenues.
Visit the Chamber of Commerce for maps and information.
5915 Dunsmuir Ave., across from the fire station
(530) 235-2177