2015-04-09 / Front Page

Daffodil Days Festival Set to Delight

By Pat Blakeley


More than 300,000 daffodils will be on display across the city during Daffodil Days, April 17-19. The fields of gold will dazzle at free events on both private and public property. Visit daffodillion.com for a complete schedule. More than 300,000 daffodils will be on display across the city during Daffodil Days, April 17-19. The fields of gold will dazzle at free events on both private and public property. Visit daffodillion.com for a complete schedule. The bulbs may be a bit behind schedule this spring but the second annual Daffodil Days celebration, to be held all over town April 17-19, is bursting with enough activities to more than hint at the sunshine and warmth to come.

The weekend officially begins Friday, April 17, at 5 p.m. on Bannister’s Wharf with a daffodil ribbon cutting by Council Vice Chair Marco Camacho and Miss Newport 2015, Emily Cortez. Music will fill the air as a “daffy” conga line, led by Miss Newport, winds its way around the wharves in celebration of all that is spring.

Saturday’s full roster includes a daffy dog parade, private garden showing, bike tour, jazz and more – offering a big bouquet of fun to all.

Have Fido don his daffiest attire for the glory of Newport’s favorite bulb and head to Wag Nation at noon or the Black Dog at 12:30 p.m. for a parade to Queen Anne Square. Prizes will be awarded for the daffiest dressed dogs, and “daffily” outfitted dog owners will receive a $10 gift certificate.

Hillside’s private garden, at the corner of Catherine Street and Gibbs Avenue, will be open 1-3 p.m. with more than 150,000 daffodils in bloom.

The “Tour de Jonquilles” bike ride rolls at 1:30 p.m. from Touro Park, offering an easy three mile spin around private and public garden displays, ending at Ballard Park. Heavily decorated bikes are encouraged, and riders will get duck calls to quack when they spot a particularly daffy array.

The inaugural Jazzy Bouquet Bar will open at Ballard Park’s quarry meadow on Saturday, offering a soothing jazz songbook by Ben Shaw and Mark Medeiros, spring bouquets for sale, and the “Dance of the Daffodils” performed by R.I. Ballet Theatre. Almost 20,000 daffodil bulbs have been planted at the park to date. The event will run 2-4 p.m., with the dance beginning at 2 p.m.

Also making its debut this year is the Daffodil Car Rally on Sunday,

1:30-3 p.m., with decorated classic cars parading through Newport, departing from the Visitor’s Center on to Ocean Drive and ending at Bellevue House. The event is being coordinated by Park Place. To sign up your vintage automobile, contact Donna Defusco at ddefusco@parkplaceholdings.com.

Following the rally, the autos will be showcased on the grounds at Bellevue House, 304 Bellevue Ave., home of Ronald Lee Fleming. Fleming will also open his private gardens to the public for touring, with thousands of plants on view. An encore performance of the “Dance of the Daffodils” will be presented on the grounds at 4 p.m.

Experienced and budding artists alike are invited to create nature inspired masterpieces. Dabble & Doodle easel stations will be set up at Ballard Park and at Cliff Walk by Shepard Avenue to enable artists of all ages to capture the beauty of the daffodil fields on Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Finally, the Newport Art Museum has issued an open call for artists to create “Daffodils en Plein Air” works in any medium. Pieces should be submitted in September for judging and awards. The art will be auctioned to raise funds to purchase daffodils for the October bulb giveaway.

In the event of rain, the events will take place the following weekend.

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