When Brentwood High School was first opened in 1982, it was in need of funds for anything beyond the building and books. First principal James Parker and parents worked together to find different ways to come up with funding streams.
About the same time, when Currie Andrews was president of the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses came up with the idea of planting pear trees along the main boulevards of Brentwood.
“Individuals and local businesses contributed to buy and plant the trees,” said Currie Andrews, Chairman of Andrews Cadillac. “The trees were the inspiration for the Pear Fest celebration, and created a sense of community spirit.”
The festival was started by the Brentwood High School Band Booster Club. Funds from the event were used to buy much-needed instruments and uniforms.
The first event was a week-long event and ended with an arts and craft festival .
“The KogerOffice Center (now City Park) in Brentwood was the location for the event,” said Andrews. “Local dance and music groups performed on a stage in front of the Moreland Mansion. The Brentwood High School Band had numerous fundraising booths. Also, crafts and baked goods were sold.”
One of the things that made the event special was that Andrews Cadillac helped with a raffle for a new Cadillac.
“Raffle tickets [sold] for $100 each with proceeds going to the band,” noted Andrews. “A second raffle ticket was sold for the chance to win items provided by local merchants.”
According to Andrews, the spring festival became a community effort. Band parent Bob Gee was the official photographer for this event with the help of his wife, Connie Gee.
A Brentwood Journal story of the time noted that there was a parade that started at Overlook Boulevard and ended by going south on Franklin Road and entered what was the Koger Center at Executive Circle Drive.
Eventually, the Chamber of Commerce added a golf tournament.
When the state made raffles illegal, it took a big bite out of the event. Suddenly the car raffle was no longer a possibility. By the early 1990s, the Pear Fest was starting to lose its bloom. Just as the pear trees it was named after.
According to an article in the Brentwood Home Page, the pear trees stunk in the spring when in blossom, Also, they are prone to all kinds of sickness and blight. They are also likely to be damaged in wind storms, frequently breaking in two right down the middle. In the end, the city replaced them.
Pear Fest fell to the ground in 1996, sprouted again for a few brief years in the early 2000s, and then it saw its last harvest.
“The Brentwood High School Marching Band won numerous championships during those years,” said Andrews, “and this fundraiser helped them purchase instruments, uniforms, and equipment trucks.”