Wisteria flowers

Festival posters highlighting the world’s largest blooming wisteria, planted in 1894, adorned the trash bins in downtown Sierra Madre but the shuttle service was canceled. The 250-ton vine’s home, a private residence, awaits new ownership once again.

Some visitors must have regretted not attending the festival years ago when the previous homeowners generously invited the public to their garden parties. I blamed my own supposition that the century-old festivity would recur and last another century. A jewelry vendor suggested that I examine instead the city hall’s wisteria vine. This attraction did not sprout from a 75-cent, 1-gallon container but is equally splendid, and so accessible. 

People and booths at the Wisteria Festival
Sign for the Wisteria Festival

Wisteria’s toxicity has not hindered mixology ventures – wisteria tea is no exception. Like poisonous fugu, would you try it?  

Every region has its wisteria festival and enthusiasts. Those who have sauntered amidst drooping blooms would always suffer an impulse to plant one at home. They should be warned of wisteria’s invasive propagation and the blossoms’ fleeting beauty.

Wisteria hanging from a row of arches

At the festival I experienced my very first tea leaf reading session. The gregarious reader, a proud Sierra Madre resident full of positive energy, spotted a squirrel and fish in my cup – I should save up (squirrel) and might enjoy an increase of wealth in the foreseeable future (fish). The overall process was similar to the one described in Jaelithe’s post My Introduction to Tea Leaf Reading. I proceeded to read more related articles, including the T Ching post Curious Facts About Tea Leaf Reading. It’s a peculiar practice, isn’t it?

Sign hanging outside the Four Seasons Tea Room

The Four Seasons Tea Room (left) mentioned in my 2016 post Tearooms in Sierra Madre was fully booked on festival day. I have yet to check if its menu has changed.

Images provided and copyright held by author