The countdown to the start of Spring has begun, and flowers have already begun to bloom all over the Northwest. Plan your weekends or vacations around the schedules of your favorite flower’s festival.
The DAFFODIL Festival
The blooming season starts off with the Daffodil Festival in Tacoma, Washington. The festival began in 1926 and is still going strong. Wear your yellow and celebrate one of the first blooms of Spring. With multiple events, the parade tops the list of must-see events and is held near the first week of April.
Skagit Valley TULIP Festival
There is so much going on in Skagit Valley! It begins with La Conner Daffodil Festival parade. During the month of April it is non-stop events all over Skagit Valley! Farm to Pint Festival, Helicopter tours, 2.5k and 5k family fun runs, art, pottery, scrapbooking, bike tours, pancake breakfast, English Tea at Willowbrook Manor, WSU Master Gardener guides, and so much more!
Other Northwest Tulip Festivals include:
- Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon runs the end of March through April.
- Holland America Flower Gardens in Woodland, Washington does not have an offiicial festival, but their gift shop, colorful fields and u-pick tulips are still there for that perfect photo op!
Hulda Klager LILAC Gardens
What was once ‘Lilac Week’ is now ‘Lilac Days’ which are the 3 weeks prior to Mother’s Day. Open daily from 10am-4pm for about $5 at the gate. The house is open for tours, you can walk the gardens to see the different varieties in bloom, purchase lilacs and visit the gift shop. Hulda Klager was a pioneer in the growing and cultivating of lilacs. Originally from Germany, she moved with her family first to Wisconsin and then to Woodland, Washington. She was married and raised her children, but also loved her flowers. A friend gave her a book about hybridization of flowers, and she began experimenting with apples and lilacs. Apples, because she wanted to make the best pies! But lilacs quickly became her world. In 5 years, she’d created 14 new varieties. By 1920, she began holding open houses in spring. She’d created so many new varieties of lilacs, lilac lovers from across the country began flocking to her house. In 1948, the city of Woodland was underwater when the Columbia River flooded. Her lilac gardens were gone, and you can still see the watermark on one of the interior doors of the house. Hulda was 83, but determined to rebuild. Many people who had bought her lilac varieties gave her starts so that she could replace her lilac garden. In 1950, Hulda was able to reopen again for Lilac Week. Today, the Hulda Klager Lilac Society continues her work and maintains her house and property in Woodland, Washington.
Keizer IRIS Festival
Keizer, Oregon hosts the Iris Festival held annually the third weekend of May. This festival has something for everyone, from the Iris Runs (3k and 5k walk/run, 10k run, and a half marathon), live music all weekend, a beer and wine ‘Keizerfest’ area, Iris Parade, Golf Tournament, Mayor’s Pet Parade, and Poker Run!
You can also visit iris display gardens in the Salmon Creek neighborhood of Vancouver, WA at Aitken’s Irises. Their display fields are open to visitors late April and into July with different varieties blooming throughout the season.
Florence RHODODENDRON Festival
Florence, Oregon is ‘Always Ready to Rhody’, having hosted the annual festival since 1908! It is the second-oldest flower festival in Oregon, the third-oldest on the West Coast. The festival begins with the crowning of “Queen Rhododendra.” The event includes a family parade, Street Vendor Fair, car show, 5k run, games, a Carnival, and more! You can save at the Carnival by purchasing tickets in advance. Look for it in mid-May.
You can also visit the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland which holds an annual Mother’s Day sale or visit the Rhododendron Species & Botanical Garden in Federal Way, WA for their annual Mother’s Day event.
PEONY Paradise in Salem, Oregon
Just east of I-5 in North Salem, you’ll find glorious fields of peonies. Adelman’s Peony farm has held an open house for the month the flowers are in bloom, complimenting them with perfect garden partners in a beautiful landscaped garden. Weather dependent, it is usually held during the month of May.
Mount Pisgah Arboretum WILDFLOWER and Music Festival
For one day only, Mount Pisgah Arboretum is hosting the Wildflower and Music Festival in May. Mount Pisgah Arboretum (in Eugene, Oregon) is open every day of the year, with quiet trails to walk, learn about native plants, and enjoy the wildflowers. This festival is a local favorite, with live music, food and craft vendors, a huge wildflower display, and guided nature walks.
Sequim LAVENDER Festival
The Sequim Lavender Growers Association proudly hosts the Sequim Lavender Festival the 3rd full weekend of July. It’s three whole days of lavender fun around the entire town. There’s a street fair, food court, music stages, craft booths, and the highlight: Farm Tours! You can spend the entire weekend eating, drinking, smelling, seeing, and touching lavender and lavender products. Maybe you’ll find a booth selling lavender ice cream, or lavender cookies. And a farm’s gift shop may have lavender lotion or face cream. And you can purchase an artist’s beautiful painting of their day spent in a lavender field (because it reminds you so much of the farm tour you just took and you realized you didn’t take any pictures!) Plus all the other fantastic local Northwest products that will be there, like BBQ, crab cakes or crepes.
Other Northwest Lavender Festivals include:
- Oregon Lavender Farm Tour, statewide events in Oregon. A list of 15 different lavender farms open their farms for visitors.
Read about more Northwest Lavender Festivals on this travel guide.
Everett DAHLIA Festival
In mid August, head to Everett, Washington for the most stunning displays of more than 2500 dahlias! The Snohomish County Dahlia Society hosts this free event annually, which highlights single blooms, triple blooms, 5-blooms, in baskets and in artistic arrangements.
Other Northwest Dahlia Festivals include:
- Annual Dahlia Festival in Canby, Oregon held at Swan Island Dahlia Farm. Their fields are open to view and orders can be given on site if you find one or two you would love to grow in your own garden. Usually open the end of August through September.