YES – A rural Perry County congregation with just about 30 members is persevering through the pandemic this month to hold its popular annual floral extravaganza, as it did last year.
The Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival has drawn as many as 10,000 visitors in some years to stroll among the seven acres of mostly yellow flowers, located about 35 miles northwest of Little Rock.
The 44th version of the event will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Saturday through March 13, with a possible third weekend of March 19-20 if the bloom continues that long. Admission and parking are free, donations are welcome.
“There will be no mandatory covid restrictions,” says Bobby Younger, a festival organizer. “To enter the craft area and the church building, we will encourage voluntary precautions such as masking.”
There are reasons why daffodils remain so eternally popular, according to Younger: “They are one of the first flowers of the year. Most are a cheerful yellow. They herald the new year for planting and growing seasons while reflecting on other aspects of our lives. for the hope of a new beginning.”
Younger says he is optimistic about the colors to come, despite the chilly weather at the end of February: “Basically, the cold snap will delay the opening of the flower buds by a few days until there is a little sunshine. . The weekend of March 12-13 might turn out to be the best. viewing time.”
Last fall, members of Wye Mountain United Methodist Church planted five new varieties of daffodils. This brings the total of varieties to around 60. The Austin Harmon family began planting in 1948. The following year, daffodils were picked and taken to Little Rock to be sold on street corners and in stores. Funds from sales helped support the church.
After Harmon’s death in 1965, the flower business languished. Fourteen years later, the Daffodil Festival was launched. For many years, all visitors were invited to pick a bouquet of a dozen flowers for a small fee. But that often left the ground empty before the end of the festival.
Now, picking is only allowed on the last weekend, with a suggested donation of $1 for a dozen flowers. On sale throughout the festival are a dozen daffodil bulbs for $5. Four types of specialty hybrid bulbs will be available at $15 for a bag of 10. The specialty bulbs sold out in 2021 in the first week.
“As usual, we will have a variety of food trucks, such as barbecues, fried fish, corn dogs and funnel cakes,” says Younger. “Our church’s concession stand will offer drinks, snacks and a separate stand of homemade food items. A variety of artisans, beginners as well as returning vendors, will set up their wares. There will be live music .”
Younger points out that the annual festival “is vitally important to our congregation. Donations help fund local church and Perry County missions, such as an emergency food pantry, safety repairs home for the elderly and disabled on limited incomes and maintenance of the historic church building.
He adds, “Congregation members and other volunteers experience spiritual joy every year as they share the flowery field, see the smiling faces of visitors, watch families and friends capture joyful memories in photos. The simple things and humble things in life can be the most powerful and meaningful to our souls – like a bright, joyful daffodil.”
If you are going to
To reach the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival, at 22300 Arkansas 113, take Cantrell Road (Arkansas 10) west to Arkansas 113. Turn right and continue four miles north to the intersection with Arkansas 300 Parking is also available along the highway.
For more details, including bloom updates, visit the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival Facebook page.