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Article Published March 29, 2019
Spring Blooms with Daffodil Festivals
Pam Johnson, Senior Staff Writer

After months of cold, gray winter, is it any wonder people go a little daffy for Daffodil Festivals? Just a quick ride away, festivals in Meriden, Newport, R.I.; and Nantucket, Mass. are just the ticket for putting the brutal cold and unpredictable winter in the past. If you've been itching to get outside and see a little color, these festivals are must-see events.

Newport Daffodil Days Festival, Newport R.I.

Kicking off on Saturday, April 13 with the annual Newport Rhode Race, followed by the festival's opening ceremonies and Daffy Dogs on Parade, historic Newport, R.I. is ready to go daffy for days in celebration of the sixth annual Newport Daffodil Days Festival.

At the city's Ballard Park, 18,000 daffodils will be in bloom, but you'll also find hundreds of thousands more at every turn. Since 2006, nearly 900,000 daffodil bulbs have been planted in Newport through

Daffodillion, a non-profit Alliance for a Livable Newport. Donations to Daffodillion go toward the goal of purchasing and planting one million – make that a "daffodillion" -- daffodil bulbs across Newport. Each fall, Daffodillion relies on local volunteers to step up and set thousands more bulbs in the ground, helping this seaside city to become awash in hues of yellow and gold come spring.

If you're in town on Sunday, April 14, you could cross paths with dozens of daffily-dressed cyclists who fill the morning's annual Tour de Jonquils. Throughout Daffodil Days, Newport merchants gussy up their businesses with blooms and daffodil décor to delight passerby. The festival closes with a flourish on Saturday, April 20 with three events: the Driving Miss Daffodil Classic Car Parade, Bellevue Avenue Classic Car Display, and Daffodil Garden Party at Bellevue House, one of Newport's famed sea cliff mansions.

The Newport Daffodil Days Festival runs from April 13 through 20 in Newport, R.I. For more information, visit www.newportdaffydays.com.

Meriden Daffodil Festival, Meriden, Conn.

With 600,000 blooms to celebrate, the 40th annual Meriden Daffodil Festival arrives in April, set on the grounds of Meriden's spacious Hubbard Park. This annual event takes its festival roots seriously, with carnival rides, live musical entertainment on three stages, a bevy of fair-tastic food tents, a juried artisan crafts fair, and full-blown fireworks display among other events and offerings. Admission is free, and while parking isn't available near the park, festival organizers have arranged for local free parking and free shuttle bus service to the festival.

This year also marks Meriden Daffodil Festival's 30th annual Daffodils on Parade. The parade steps off at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, when thousands of locals of all ages pull out all the stops and bring out all things daffodil. Homegrown floats, marching bands, and groups from dozens of organizations will go yellow for this year's parade theme, "Everything's Coming Up Daffodils!" On the evening of April 27, the festival's spectacular fireworks display will light up the skies over Hubbard Park.

Hungry? Be sure to visit the Meriden Daffodil Festival's Silver Fork Food Tent on both days, featuring more than 30 local non-profit organizations who take pride in proffering time-honored treats and eats (just a few to set your mouth watering: apple fritters, Belgian waffles, clam fritters, cotton candy, fried dough, and steamed cheeseburgers), with all proceeds going to benefit local charitable causes. Festival-goers can also bring coolers with their own food, but alcohol is not allowed.

The festival's Crafts by the Lake juried crafts fair opens at 10 a.m. on both days and features wares from talented artists and artisans selected for their unique, quality work. Meriden Daffodil Festival offers additional family-friendly fun in The Theater of the Trees (featuring acts and interactive entertainment) and The Action Zone (exotic animal shows and stunt shows) during festival weekend.

The Meriden Daffodil Festival is on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 at Hubbard Park in Meriden, Conn. For more information, visit www.daffodilfest.com.

Nantucket, Mass. Daffodil Festival April 26 - 28, 2019

Accessible by high-speed ferry, this charming island off the coast of Massachussettes is known to get daffy – and a bit whacky – during the annual Nantucket Daffodil Festival, three days filled with fun activities, contests and special events, tours, walks, exhibits, and more.

This year marks the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce's 45th Annual Chamber Daffodil Festival. As daffodils bloom across the island, the festival packs in crowds for springtime celebrations and activities for all ages. Here, daffodils are all the rage and costume de rigueur —and the wackier, the better. Chamber merchants also get into the act by going daffy decorating storefronts.

The Chamber's contest action peaks on Saturday, April 27, when Daffodil Festival revelers will be vying for prize ribbons by wearing their best blooms for the Daffy Hat Pageant (elegant to way-out -- the more inventive the topper, the better), Children's Parade (decorated kids, bikes, trikes, baby carriages, and other self-propelled vehicles) and Daffy Dog Parade.

To add a bit of daffodil decorum, the weekend also offers Nantucket Garden Club's 45th Community Annual Daffodil Flower Show. Approved by the

American Daffodil Society, the show features exhibitors in classes for horticulture, flower arrangements and photography. Guests are welcome to view the show free of charge, but donations are accepted for the Island's Daffodil Planting Fund for community projects. This year's show will be held at Bartlett's Ocean View Farm on Saturday, April 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday only, a free shuttle will run from Washington Street in downtown Nantucket to Bartlett's Ocean View Farm during show hours.

Last, but certainly not least, Nantucket Chamber of Commerce's Daffodil Festival offers the festival's time-honored Antique Car & Motorcycle Parade, which sets off at noon on Saturday, April 27. Get to town early to view the daffodil-bedecked vehicles, lined up and on display before the parade. The parade pulls huge crowds to Nantucket's cobblestoned Main Street and other downtown lanes, as over 100 vintage vehicles motor past, en route to the festival's famed 'Sconset Tailgate Picnic. Held in the charming, historic village of Siasconset, the post-parade picnic invites locals and visitors to rub elbows with parade participants. Bring your own elegant tailgate tableaux or picnic brunch basket, and be prepared to drink in the springtime scenery.

The Nantucket Chamber of Commerce's 45th annual Daffodil Festival is from Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28. For more information, visit www.nantucketchamber.org/daffodilfestival.