Cherry Blossom Festival

When Orange was surrounded by orchards, spring arrived in a cloud of blossom that marked the end of winter and the promise of a rich harvest of cherries at Christmas.

In the 1950s and 60s, the Cherry Blossom Festival was the highlight of spring in Orange. Initiated in 1939 by the Chamber of Commerce, the festival raised funds for sporting and community causes. A busy week of social, cultural and sporting activities culminated in the crowning of the Cherry Blossom Queen and a parade of floats and characters down Summer Street.

The Cherry Blossom parade down Summer Street was the highlight of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Business and community organisations decorated floats in cherry blossom and crepe paper, and smart cars carried the candidates for the Cherry Blossom Queen waving to the crowds who lined the street.
Image courtesy: Orange City Library
The Cherry Blossom Queen was crowned with great pageantry in a ceremony with all the elements of a coronation. The queen was a local girl, chosen from a field of candidates whose supporters competed to raise money for community causes.
Image courtesy: Orange City Library
Newspaper article emphasises the economic value of cherries to Orange during the city's Cherry Blossom Festival - Central Western Daily 9 October 1939.
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Image courtesy: Orange City Library