The first day of spring is this Monday, on March 20th. As I write this blog from the California desert, with temperatures currently soaring to 90-plus degrees (too soon, too soon!), the northeast is being pummeled with a massive storm and blizzard conditions.
But, as we baby boomers all know from decades of experience, this crazy weather shall soon pass and we all have some gorgeous spring days ahead of us.
So, let’s think spring! What better way to celebrate this wonderful time of year than visiting one of America’s top ten flower festivals?
In Southern California, thanks to this winter’s abundant rain and snow, we’re looking forward to explosive colors as wildflowers begin to spread across our desert, coastline, and foothills. Other parts of the country, from grassland prairies to alpine meadows, are also anticipating nature’s colorful display of flowers, guaranteeing us delightfully longer, warmer days.
With that in mind, I’m sharing 10 popular spring flower festivals from different parts of the country. If you get a chance, don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy nature’s wonders at a festival near you!
Where: Dallas, Texas
When: Now through April 9, 2017
The largest floral festival in the Southwest features 66 acres of gardens at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Enjoy every spring color imaginable as 600,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, Dutch irises, poppies, and other flowers bloom in a spectacular way.
This year’s theme, “Peace, Love and Flower Power” will appeal to you baby boomers as the festival celebrates the headlines, music, TV, fads, and fashion from the 1960’s and includes amazing topiaries built on a classic Volkswagen van and bug.
Click here for more information, a list of events, and to purchase tickets.
EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FLOWER & GARDEN FESTIVAL
Where: Orlando, Florida
When: Now through May 29, 2017
If you have children or grandchildren, this is just the ticket for some whimsical fun. At Epcot, you can enjoy more than 70 Disney-themed topiaries from every era brought to life through flower sculptures and manicured trees.
Flower towers, wildlife habitats, and vibrant gardens add to the beauty. Exhibits, seminars, and how-to demonstrations, outdoor kitchens with pint-sized plates, and outdoor concerts add to the fun.
Disney horticulturists are onsite each weekend to help those interested in learning more about gardening. Admission to Epcot is required. For more information, click here.
NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
Where: Washington, D.C.
When: Now through April 17, 2016
One day I’m going to see this famous flourish of pink blooms in the nation’s capital. If you plan to go this year, however, you better hurry! According to its website, the National Park Service has updated its peak bloom prediction from March 19 to March 22 due to recent temperature trends and the weather forecast for the next seven days.
Today, on March 16, the annual Pink Tie Party, a fundraiser benefiting the festival, kicks off the season in style. Several events follow. The opening ceremony will be held on March 25 to celebrate the gift of trees from Japan to the U.S. The Blossom Kite Festival takes place on April 1. The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, featuring lavish floats, giant helium balloons, and marching bands is on April 8. To wrap up the season, Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival will feature live music and entertainment on April 25 with fireworks at 8:30 p.m.
For more information, blooming updates, and/or tickets, click here.
DAFFODIL FESTIVAL AND PARADE
Where: Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting, Washington State
When: The parade begins Saturday, April 8, 2017 in Tacoma at 10:15 AM; Puyallup at 12:45 PM; Sumner at 2:30 PM; Orting at 5:00 PM
Maybe this festival is not quite as famous as the ones I’ve listed above, but it’s one of my sentimental favorites. When I lived in Puyallup, Washington about 20 years ago and worked as a newspaper reporter, I covered this heartwarming traditional, family- and community-oriented parade.
This event features floats decorated with thousands of fresh-cut daffodils as well as high school marching bands in celebration of daffodil flowers that have grown in the Puyallup Valley for the past 80 years. Come on, who doesn’t love cheerful daffodils and parades! For more information, check out their website.
Where: Holland, Michigan
When: May 7 to 14, 2016
When Holland residents brag about tulip time, they’re not kidding! Nearly 5 million tulips are planted throughout the town which awakens in the spring with bright spectacular bursts of color.
Since traditional Dutch dancing is popular in this old-world town, the festival hosts dancing events practically non-stop throughout the weekend. Be sure and take in one of the three parades, where participants brave the pavement with wooden clogs and traditional Dutch outfits.
Their website has posted the following update regarding blooming time: “Tulips are on track for a typical bloom time here in Holland, Michigan (late April to mid-May.) While the weather here has been slightly warmer than usual overall, the forecast has us back to cold weather for the next two weeks. The early blooming varieties have just started to sprout but the cold night temperatures keep their development at bay. We will have a more accurate estimate of bloom timing (which is highly dependent on the weather over the next 2 to 3 weeks) by the first week in April.” For blooming updates, events, and tickets, click here.
Where: Charleston, Missouri
When: April 20 to 23, 2017
Take a stroll along the six-mile Dogwood-Azalea Trail when Charleston glimmers with stunning dogwoods and azaleas at their peak blooms.
You can celebrate the floral spring beauty and enjoy the wholesome hospitality of this community with a candlelight tour, arts and crafts bazaar, one of the area’s largest parades, an old-fashioned ice cream social, art show, piano concerts, and an old-fashioned carriage ride. For more information, see their website.
THE 2017 WILDFLOWER FESTIVAL
Where: Crested Butte, Colorado
When: July 7 to 16, 2017
Surround yourself in the symphony of wildflowers in Crested Butte, dubbed as the wildflower capital of Colorado. The mountains and valleys brim with explosive colors in the late spring and summer as magnificent blue columbines, Red Indian paintbrushes, sunflowers, delphiniums, lupines, and other flowers bloom in full glory.
The week long festival offers over 200 events including hikes, art workshops, jeep tours, and photography classes. For more information, click here.
PORTLAND ROSE FESTIVAL
Where: Portland, Oregon
When: May 27 to June 12, 2016
Portland hosts the largest rose show in the nation, overflowing with more than 4,000 blooms in all their glory and rich fragrances.
Enjoy one of three starlight parades with twinkling floats throughout its three weekends, thrilling rides, fireworks, live music, tasty treats, and much more. For more information, click here.
INTERNATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
Where: Macon, Georgia
When: March 24 to April 2, 2017
Dubbed “the pinkest party on earth,” The International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia celebrates all things pink, including the town’s impressive collection of hundreds of Yoshino cherry trees.
Festival highlights include a bed race, nightly live concerts, fashion shows, a street party, as well as the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. For tickets and more information, click here.
THE FLOWER FIELDS AT CARLSBAD RANCH
Where: Carlsbad, California
When: Now through May 14, 2017
This festival is another one of my personal favorites since my father lives nearby and we visit often. Every spring, 50 acres of rolling hills overlooking the striking coastline are transformed into a dazzling display of blooms from early March through early May.
Wagon rides, live music, dinner tours, arts and crafts shows, exotic plant sale, and photography classes are available throughout the festival dates. For a schedule or to buy tickets, check out their website.
Images, in order of appearance, courtesy of twobee, pazham, criminalatt, and nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net