The Old Schoolhouse in 29 Palms
Every year since 1941, the 29 Palms Women's Club and Historical Society has held the Weed Show in the Old Schoolhouse. No! It's not THAT kind of weed! Here is an explanation from the Historical Society brochure: When Mildred Bryant Brooks, a well-known artist, was visiting 29 Palms to lecture on the art of etching in the summer of 1940, the ladies of the Women's Club were chagrined that they could not present their esteemed guest with a bouquest of fresh flowers -- as good etiquette dictated -- owing to the shortage of green or flowering vegetation in the hot summer desert. Brooks' remark, that the desert had so many beautiful weeds that flowers were unnecessary, inspired the club members to establish the first ever Weed Show in 1941. Larry and I have been visiting this desert community for over 15 years and we always try to go when The Weed Show is scheduled, on the first weekend in November. Basically, this is a flower arranging exhibit using items and weeds found in the area. This year's theme was "Tools of the Trade." There were several categories, among them: Arrangement using museum quality purple glass and broken purple glass (glass turns purple when left out in the desert sun); composition using farming or cattle ranching items; compositions using items relating to mining, making moonshine, military, etc.
Once you see the arrangements and read the descriptions, you gain a greater appreciation for the beauty of the natural desert vegetation. Ribbons are already awarded by judges before the public is allowed to view the show. We do get to vote for the "People's Choice" award though.
My personal favorite - 2 old glass doorknobs, stacked with weeds
The Old Schoolhouse is open during the year. There are always interesting historical exhibits and lectures. There are many old photos of the area (see the old Montgomery Ward's building from the '50's) as well as ordinary items used by the pioneers and homesteaders of 29 Palms, such as the afghan below.
The desert air and skyline are so pristine and inspiring. I always feel relaxed after a visit to the tri-city high desert towns of 29 Palms, Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley.