The BLOG: Lifestyle

Daffodils around Nantucket announce the arrival of spring

(Photo by Michael Galvin)

(Photo by Michael Galvin)

The Nantucket Chamber of Commerce hosts its 42nd annual Daffodil Festival Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1. That weekend an estimated 3 million daffodils are expected to be in bloom on the 304-square-mile island also known as “The Little Grey Lady of the Sea.”

According to Mike Galvin, resource specialist of the Chamber, the grand daffodil tradition began of humble roots. In the fall of 1974, tired of losing tulip bulbs to the local deer population, the late Jean Mac Ausland suggested Nantucketers plant daffodil bulbs along Milestone Road from Monomy to Siaconset to help beautify the island. As daffodils are deer resistant, the idea spread like wildflowers. The next April, as those daffodils began to bloom, locals celebrated spring’s return with an antique car parade and a tailgate picnic in ‘Sconset.

Daffodils have since been planted each fall by school-agers and locals willing to supplement the the bulbs which have become naturalized around the island. A prolific perfusion of dancing daffodils is a source of local fun and pride that adds bouquets of displays of every array to local lore.

This year’s weekend-long festivities include activities for all ages. One of Friday’s highlights will be a self-guided tour of local merchant’s window displays that have gone “daffy.” Inspired by good-natured competition, store owners will vie to earn a Best In Show ribbon and bragging rights as the jonquils take over downtown.

Main events of the festival begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m. when 100 antique automobiles are expected to gather their daffodil dazzle on Main Street before a noontime parade. At 10:15 kids are welcomed to show off their decorated strollers, trikes, bikes, and skateboards at Children’s Beach. Dogs are also welcome to participate in town wonderfulness cloaked in their daffiest spring attire. The island festival additionally includes an outrageous hat pageant open to men, women and children on Harbor View Way. Picnics and tailgates are another passion of the weekend as blankets spread out on Main Street in ‘Sconset or all-out at Children’s Beach with over-the-top themed table-scape designs where the Off Shore Blues Band is expected to perform.

(Photo by Michael Galvin)

(Photo by Michael Galvin)

Before the evening extends into a variety of spiked opportunities around town in casual venues as well as highly orchestrated events, the 42nd annual Community Daffodil Flower Show offers a free event at Bartlett’s Farm. Approved by the American Daffodil Society, submitted exhibits will include flower arrangements, horticultural designs and photography. Exhibitions of this Nantucket Garden Club event will be on view inside the Bartlett Farm Greenhouse, Saturday from 2:00-5:00 and Sunday 10:00-4:30.

Sunday, at 9:00, the Nantucket Triathlon Club hosts a Daffodil 5K run along a scenic course that follows ocean-side roads through the village’s historic neighborhoods.

Nantucket’s nautical coordinates are Longitude 70.12 degrees W by Latitude 41.28 degrees N. The coordinates of the island’s festive attitude will be 100 degrees Daffy from April 29 to May 1!

Daffodil Festival Details:

Transportation to and from Nantucket Island:

Cape Air: 1-800-CAPEAIR or 1-800-227-3247
service from Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, and New Bedford

Hy Line Cruise: 800-492-8082
service from Hyannis

SteamShip Authority: 508-548-3788
service from Wood’s Hole, Hyannis

Contact Diane Kilgore at [email protected].