2014-04-17 / Around Town

Ready to Go Daffy?

By John Hirschboeck

This field of daffodils near The Chanler adds to the beauty of the Cliff Walk. This field of daffodils near The Chanler adds to the beauty of the Cliff Walk. Newport’s going daffy. Well, it’s about time.

Loyal and hardy friends that they are, hundreds of thousands of bright yellow daffodil blooms are bursting forth throughout Newport this week, in spite of the long winter. What a joyful and welcoming sight they are.

Newport’s now blessed with over 250,000 perennially blooming daffodils planted by the Daffodil Project – 98,500 of which were planted last fall by volunteers, schools, organizations, businesses and residents. Now that is still a long way from the one million goal set by “Daffodillion,” but with everyone’s enthusiastic support and green thumbs, we’re well on our way.

Allow me to give a big and loud shoutout of appreciation to all the volunteers who helped with spring cleaning at beaches and parks throughout town this past weekend. It’s kind of like cleaning up the living room before our daffodil guests arrive.

Now, on to next week’s activities that will showcase our daffodils:

To celebrate their arrival and recognize Earth Day, lots of fun “daffy” activities will be taking place throughout town. Begin with Newport Arboretum Week (April 21-26), newportarboretum.org.

On Tuesday, April 22 (National Earth Day itself), Daffodillion is sponsoring a sold-out reception with Governor Lincoln Chafee at The Chanler on Cliff Walk to thank its many supporters.

On the weekend of April 25- 27, the first annual Newport Daffodil Days Festival will take place throughout town. Bannister’s Wharf will be at the center of the family fun with live music, food and special activities. (Look for the Daffodil Days Festival flags at other shops throughout town.)

On Saturday, April 26, Bike Newport will have a special Bike Tour of the Daffodils departing at 11 a.m. from Touro Park. More information on their Facebook page at Bike Newport. facebook.com/ events/245348445657395/

Also on Saturday, April 26, the Annual Newport Storm Craft Beer Festival will be taking place at the Great Friends Meeting House. The hundreds of daffodils now in bloom will greet beer aficionados on the Meeting House lawn.

On Sunday, April 27, the 2014 Neighborhoods of Newport House Tour will benefit St. Michael’s Country Day School and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. Many of the houses on tour will feature beautiful beds of hundreds of daffodils, including the gardens of Ronald Lee Fleming’s Bellevue House and Susan Ruff’s Hillside. (newporthousetour.com)

Daffodillion is also holding a Daffy Photo Contest. Take your favorite photos of Newport’s daffodils in April/May, then click on the photo contest icon on the Daffodillion Facebook page. There are two categories: “Daffiest” and “Most Awe-inspiring.”

The two winners, announced in June, will receive a gift basket from Bowen’s Wharf, two tickets for a harbor cruise aboard the Gansett and will be featured on the big screen at Ballard Park’s movies this summer.

So don your bright yellow bonnets and bow ties, and let’s all get out to welcome the daffodils to Newport.

Daffodil Give Away

Mark your calendars for the 2014 free daffodil bulb give-away at Easton’s Beach on Oct. 18. The more contributions to Daffodillion, the more bulbs will be available to give-away.

All donations, big or small are appreciated.

Checks can be made out to ALN-Daffodillion and mailed to: Daffodillion c/o Alliance for a Livable Newport P.O. Box 2636, Newport, RI 02840

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