Twentynine Palms Historical Society
29 Palms, California
Twentynine Palms Weed ShowSM
Annually, the first full weekend in November
Weed Show entry by Ada Hatch c.1950's
Just What Is The Weed ShowSM?
The Weed Show is one of Twentynine Palms’ oldest and most unique artistic traditions. This annual display, now in its seventh decade, features artistic arrangements of indigenous desert vegetation as well as found objects both natural and man-made - a desert rendition of the traditional concept of floral display. Each show follows a specific theme. Entries are judged on subject matter, use of desert vegetation, use of accessories, artistic composition and originality. Awards are granted in nine categories, with a "people’s Choice" award to be decided by visitors to the exhibition.
The show’s roots go back to July 1940, when the Women’s Club of Twentynine Palms invited Pasadena printmaker Mildred Bryant Brooks to deliver a lecture on "The Art of Etching." Legend has it that the local ladies, ever mindful of etiquette, were deeply embarrassed by the lack of fresh flowers with which to decorate the podium and honor their esteemed guest. The ladies of the club expressed their apologies to Brooks, who is then reputed to have said, "Why do you need fresh flowers when you have so many beautiful weeds?" The ladies then dispatched two of their members to gather sun dried desert flora from the grounds of the Twentynine Palms Inn, which they brought back for Brooks to arrange.
The Weed ShowSM made its official debut the following year in 1941. Initially held in private homes, its popularity soon grew to the point where it became a bona fide community event. After the Women’s Club disbanded in 1976, sponsorship of the show passed to the Twentynine Palms Gardening Club then when the Gardening Club disbanded, the Historical Society revived the show which has been going strong ever since.
It is one of Twentynine Palms most characteristic events. The Weed ShowSM highlights the beauty of the local flora and the skill of our town’s artisans, and the history and culture of Twentynine Palms itself.
What Is A Weed?
A definition by Pat Rimmington
The dictionary defines a weed as (1) a plant that grows wild and (2) a plant not valued for use or beauty.
It is true that the flora used by the competitors in this 74 year old Twentynine Palms show are the native plants that grow wild on the Mojave Desert.
However, these plants were essential to the existence of the Native American tribes (Cahuilla, Chemehuevi and Serrano) who inhabited this desert region. Nature provided the food and medicine, as well as the materials used for basket weaving, hunting equipment and for building shelters.
The displays in the Weed ShowSM aim to bring out the often over-looked, hidden beauty of the local vegetation in a whole new light.
Previous Years Photos and Info
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