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A Rose is a Rose in Wasco



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Does your family consider you the flower of the group, or just a blooming idiot? To see the difference, head for Deweyville.

Never heard of it? Trust me, it's there, and it's known for its roses.

First named Dewey, then rechristened as Deweyville, the community of Wasco was originally a loading station on the Santa Fe Railroad. In 1907, 10 years after the station first took shape, the new town took its name courtesy of a former resident of Wasco County, Oregon — which in turn took its name from a tribe of Oregon Indians. That's a lot of borrowing.

That's not bad for a warm-up act — kind of like seeing Kiss right before Aerosmith takes the stage.
Wasco is primarily an agricultural community, and is famous for its roses. Nine different growers combine to raise the lion's share of the nation's bare root roses. And while the activity in the fields goes on year round, it's September when things really get cranking.

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Each September, Wasco hosts its annual Festival of Roses. This year's event celebrates the 101st anniversary of the town over four days of fun. Activities are scattered throughout the town, so this is a great opportunity not only to enjoy the festivities but to get at least a Readers' Digest-style glimpse of the community. A Rose Queen Pageant, concerts, arts and crafts shows, rose field tours, and athletic competitions are all on the docket. And if they ever have a competition for riding a BARCO lounger, count me in.

Activities kick off on Thursday, September 4 and center around Wasco High School. Opening night of the annual tennis tournament is the official lid lifter, if you like hot and sweaty. At 6 pm, mosey on over (mosey?) to the auditorium for the crowning of the 2008 Rose Queen — an event that may also be considered hot and, well, you get the idea. Friday includes the traditional Evening of Wine and Roses at the Elks' Lodge, along with more tennis. That's not bad for a warm-up act — kind of like seeing Kiss right before Aerosmith takes the stage.

On Saturday, the party shifts into high gear.

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If you're an early riser, skip over (you'll be all "moseyed" out by then) to the Methodist Church at 7th and Birch Streets for a stack of pancakes. A grand parade kicks off at 10 am, meandering from the corner of D and 7th Streets to Barker Park. Later, an outdoor art faire takes over the park, which is the hub of activity for the weekend. Food vendors and arts and crafts booths will cover the grounds, with fine arts on display at the adjacent Veterans Building.

There's also plenty of live entertainment on hand, and tours of the rose fields depart from here starting at noon. Tours leave from the south side of the park every 20 minutes and last for about an hour.

The main event, of course, is the annual Rose Show sponsored by the Wasco Rose Society. Presentations feature outstanding roses from the gardens of Kern County and throughout the state of California. Launch is 1 pm, not to be confused with "lunch" (try the deep pit barbecue).

The Wasco Museum (918 6th Street) will be open to the public on Saturday from 1 pm. Here's a chance to catch up on Wasco history and view interesting artifacts and memorabilia. If you'd been there, maybe you'd know about the Deweyville thing.

And there's more tennis, with the tourney finally concluding on Sunday. What a racket.

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