Kingsburg ushers in Blossom Trail with opening celebration

Kingsburg hosts the 36th Blossom Trail Opening Ceremony to kick off the season of bright blooms throughout Fresno County

Kingsburg local Hannah Zentner signs the National Anthem at the Blossom Trail Opening Ceremony
Kingsburg local Hannah Zentner signs the National Anthem at the Blossom Trail Opening Ceremony hosted in downtown Kingsburg Feb. 9, 2024. (Serena Bettis)
Serena Bettis
Published February 13, 2024  • 
11:00 am

KINGSBURG – Hundreds of Fresno County residents came out to downtown Kingsburg on a sunny Friday morning to celebrate Central Valley agriculture and the 36th Blossom Trail Opening Ceremony. 

Community members, politicians and local produce growers gathered in front of Berman’s Flowers in Kingsburg on Feb. 9 to usher in the start of blossom season and share what the Blossom Trail means to them. As thousands of acres of fruit and nut trees begin to show their vibrant pink and white blossoms each year, residents and visitors reflect on new beginnings and hope for a fruitful harvest. 

“We hope travelers have the opportunity to travel the Blossom Trail and hopefully they’ll stop in at all the little towns on the way, and come by and spend their money here, of course,” Fresno County District 4 Supervisor Buddy Mendes said. “The blossom season is a time for our community to stop for a moment and celebrate the splendor of our agriculture.” 

Hosted by the city of Kingsburg this year along with the Kingsburg Downtown District and the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce, the Blossom Trail Opening Ceremony featured a Swedish pancake breakfast served by members of the Kingsburg Lions Club, vendor booths from local businesses and remarks from representatives of the cities that sit along the trail.

Kingsburg City Councilmember David Silva talks about Blossom Trail
Kingsburg City Councilmember David Silva talks about Blossom Trail viewing traditions in his family at the Blossom Trail Opening Ceremony hosted in downtown Kingsburg Feb. 9, 2024. (Serena Bettis)

 Kingsburg City Councilmember David Silva spoke about how for his mother and grandmother, their Blossom Trail tradition is to drive through the county and see the artist rendering of the Blossom Trail. He said they would always get the photo and frame it, and his mom would hang it in their house. 

For Silva as a grower, he said the Blossom Trail means different things. 

“The blossoms create so much for so many people in so many communities like this,” Silva said. “They provide so many jobs … (and) we’re very thankful that we have a grower base here in Kingsburg and Fresno County that is providing fruit for all of us globally.”

This year, the artist rendering Silva spoke about was done by Sanger artist Chieko Delgado, who has won the Blossom Trail Art Contest four times. The contest is held during the Big Fresno Fair each year, and the winner has their painting turned into a poster that is available for purchase; Delgado’s work previously won in 2011, 2014 and 2017. 

Delgado was at the opening ceremony to sell signed copies of her poster, which depicted bright pink blossoms on trees standing in flooded orchards. She said her inspiration was from the view on her street last year when there were major rain storms. 

“I love the Blossom Trail because I originate from Japan, and in Japan we have to make lines and lines to see the flowers — like at the cherry blossom festival — but here it is everywhere,” Delgado said. “It smells so nice and it’s like an image of hope — like spring, beginnings, hope — so I love Blossom Trail season and I love to paint Blossom Trail images.”

The Blossom Trail runs along county roads in southeast Fresno County and is marked with route signs. A map of the route is available on the county’s Blossom Trail website, goblossomtrail.com, and updates about the blossoms and the trail are also posted on the website.

During the opening ceremony, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen shared some of his favorite fun facts about the Blossom Trail, including information about Fresno County’s overall agriculture production. 

Jacobsen said that he likes to start with the numbers when talking about “the amazingness of agriculture” because while they may be a little boring, they’re important to get the overall picture of the impact the Central Valley has on agriculture. 

In 2022, Fresno County had an agriculture production value of $8.1 billion, Jacobsen said. That included more than 183 different commodities, and the county by itself exported products to more than 90 counties last year, he said. 

“There are 195 countries throughout the world, so approximately almost 50% — half the world — we send produce to, which is amazing,” Jacobsen said. “Today we come together to celebrate the Valley’s blossoms that, for about a four-week period, puts on a natural show like few others on planet Earth.” 

Jacobsen also shared fun facts about honey bees — he said apiaries located in Fresno County produced approximately 8.8 million pounds of honey in 2022, up significantly from 2021. 

Many locals running for regional political offices also made an appearance at the event and gave short speeches, including State Assembly District 33 candidate Alexandra Macedo, Congressional District 20 candidate and current Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Congressional District 21 candidate Michael Maher. 

Reedley Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Tuttle, who also works for District 33 State Assemblyman Devon Mathis, presented a certificate of recognition from the state, and current District 21 Congressman Jim Costa presented a certificate of recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“(This) really is a reflection — literally and figuratively — of the hard work that our incredible agricultural community does here in our Valley,” Costa said. “Literally and figuratively we see the blossoms beginning to take shape and we know that’s a sign of spring, when we get a chance to really celebrate all the hard efforts and the hard work that our farmers, ranchers, dairymen and women do, along with our farmworkers.”

Upcoming events

Communities around the Blossom Trail host many events during the blossom season and later into the spring. 

The Reedley Lions Club is hosting its Blossom Bike Ride on March 2; those interested in participating can sign up for a 7-mile family ride or individual rides of 20, 40 and 60 miles. Register for the bike ride at blossombikeride.com.

The Sanger Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Blossom Day Festival in downtown Sanger on March 9. There will be a car show, beer garden, live music, a lego competition and arts and crafts. 

Hillcrest Farm in Reedley is running its Blossom Trail Train the first three weekends in March — on March 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17 — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for anyone 2 and up.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter