This year’s Apple Blossom Festival and Parade takes place on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23. Visit for details.

Before west county's sun dappled hills were covered with grape vines, apples ruled the slopes.

It was in the late 1800s when famed horticulturist Luther Burbank recommended that Nathaniel Griffith cultivate Gravensteins apples for commercial use. Since then, apples have been a major agricultural crop in Sonoma County. Apple orchards, dryers and packaging facilities employed men and women of different races and ethnicities. Railroads whisked thousands of cars of crisp apples down to the Bay area and places elsewhere.

Sebastopol has been celebrating its apple heritage since 1910 with harvest festivals that cap the end of the agricultural season. In 1946, Sebastopol celebrated its first Apple Blossom Festival to welcome in the beginning of spring and a new crop. This year marks the extravaganza’s 71st anniversary.

Click through our gallery on the early days of the Sonoma County apple industry.

Livestock, Horse Emergency Resources

Sonoma/Napa Fires Livestock Evac, 707-634-4935,

Solano County Horse/Livestock Fire Evacuation Help Page,

SERRA Sonoma Equine Rescue Rehab and Adoption,

HALTER Horse & Livestock Team Emergency Response,

CARES California Animal Response Emergency System,

SCAS Sonoma County Animal Services Emergency Hotline, 707-565-4406.