National Cherry Festival 1961
National Cherry Festival, circa 1961 | Mary Johnson Photo
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I’m going through my mom’s massive slide collection, and came across these photos from the National Cherry Festival in 1961. All the photos are marked July 14, 1961. A quick Google searched revealed that it was on a Friday, so I’m not sure which parade this would have been. Also, I was one year old (this was two days after my first birthday, July 12, 1961), so if I was there, I was likely in a stroller next to my mom.

Based on that big white house in some of the photos, I’m guessing she was at the east end of Front Street, at the start of the parade. I believe that big house might be a law firm now(?). The smaller houses are long gone now.

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Some of the photos are a teensy bit blurry, but back then, of course, there was no immediately checking the digital photos and deleting any that didn’t measure up.

Vintage Slide
Vintage Slide | Jane Boursaw Photo

Nope, you had to wait for the photos – or slides, in this case – to come back from the photo processing place and THEN check them out. And in our family, even the blurry ones didn’t get tossed.

Also, as me and my three older siblings got older, we all worked on our cherry farm, so we really didn’t go to the Cherry Festival much because it always took place right in the middle of cherry harvest. Back then, it was a much longer harvest, as there were no cherry shakers and all the cherries were hand-picked.

See anyone you know in the photos? Or did you participate in the National Cherry Festival that year? Leave thoughts and your own memories of the festival in the comments section below.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

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  1. You are correct in your assessment of your location- Your (parents) vantage point was the north side of Front Street, just west of Railroad. The larger white house in the photos 6, 7 and 8 is 115 Franklin, which is still a private residence. It sits at the corner of Franklin and Railroad streets where they converge with East Front. ( 150 feet west of the traffic signal onto E. Grandview Parkway).


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