Nantucket Daffodil Festival
Years ago, a local lady in Nantucket decided that she wanted to spruce up her hometown, and then she began what has become a springtime tradition for this New England island.
“She wanted to beautify Nantucket, so she started planting daffodils along our main road,” said Jean Cawle, public relations specialist at the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. “She chose the daffodil because it was one flower that the deer won’t eat. Today, there are millions of daffodils — they’re everywhere, and there are thousands of different varieties. Nantucket literally turns yellow in mid-April.”
Cawle isn’t exaggerating: More than 3 million daffodils bloom around Nantucket, and for two days in late April, locals celebrate with the Nantucket Daffodil Festival. This event attracts some 15,000 visitors, who come to see the flowers, vintage cars, costumed children and other things showcased in the festival’s parade.
“The parade is the biggest part,” Cawle said. “There are about 100 vintage cars that go all through town. It ends with a big tailgate picnic, where they award prizes for things like the best meal, the best hat and the best car. There’s also a children’s parade and a dog parade.”
The vintage cars that parade through town are decked out with daffodils, yellow balloons and other springtime decorations. In addition to the parade, visitors can attend a large flower show put on by the local garden club.
— www.nantucketchamber.org —
Fayetteville Dogwood Festival
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Springtime means dogwood blooms in Fayetteville, North Carolina. On the fourth weekend of April, the city throws the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival to celebrate the arrival of spring and its hallmark local flowers.
“The festival started to celebrate how beautiful our community is when we’re in full bloom,” said Carrie King, the festival’s executive director. “Our event is a street fair with free entertainment and national bands. There are food vendors, arts and crafts, and local entertainers as well. All of it hinges on the dogwood.”
The festival’s organizing committee publishes a dogwood trail map each year, giving visitors a 10-mile route that showcases the best of the city’s blossoms. Many of the special events that take place throughout the weekend are themed around dogwoods as well: The first night begins with the Bloomin’ Boom Kickoff Party, which features music and fireworks. Numerous sponsors and vendors give away dogwood saplings and other botanical items as prizes.
Some of the artisans that attend even integrate the dogwood motif into the crafts they create.
“We have a vendor that comes every year that makes some of the most beautiful hand-crafted pottery items that you can imagine, and they’re all dogwood themed,” King said. “They make those just for our festival. We also have a gentleman that comes every year and does magnets that have photos of dogwoods that he has taken all over the United States. We have another guy that makes dogwood flags.”
— www.faydogwoodfestival.com —