Mark Burlingham's archive
Courtesy of Nantucket Chamber of Commerce
A Three Million Daffodil Celebration:
April’s gentle sea breezes and warming sunshine coax new growth from the island’s sandy soil, adorning roadsides and gardens with an astonishing variety of daffodils. Come wear your daffy hat, watch the car parade, have a tailgate picnic and welcome spring!
From early April to mid-May, over three million daffodils of every color, shape and size bloom on Nantucket. This blossoming is the focal point of the Annual Daffodil Festival (April 27 –29, 2012).Organized and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the Annual Daffodil Festival is a full-scale celebration of winter’s thaw, joyous for both islanders and visitors alike. Daffodils grace the island’s roadsides, gardens and shop windows with blooms of yellow, orange, white and even pale pink.
The Daffodil Festival’s grand event held on Saturday - is the Annual Antique Car Parade, which features over 100 daffodil-bedecked vintage cars (pre-registration necessary for participation). After winding through town and across the island to the charming village of Siasconset, participants join residents and visitors for the Annual Daffodil Tailgate Picnic. Held on the lush lawns leading into the village, the picnic boasts fare ranging from elaborate gourmet cuisine served on fine china to box lunches and burgers. Other highlights include the Nantucket Garden Club’s Annual Daffodil Show, Children’s Daffodil Parade, Daffy Hat Pageant and Daffodil Dog Parade.
History of the Daffodil Festival
What has evolved into a weekend full of fun events and activities began in 1974 when the late Jean MacAusland (former Nantucket summer resident and the publisher of Gourmet Magazine) persuaded the Nantucket Garden Club to invite the American Daffodil Society to sponsor a daffodil show on the island. Their goal was to plant over one million daffodil bulbs, with the first planting taking place in the autumn of ‘74 along Milestone Road. Unfortunately, many of the bulbs did not survive, as they had been planted in a straight line too close to the road and mowed down before they had a chance to store food for winter. For the next planting, the Garden Club set the bulbs out in random bunches farther from the road. This “drift planting” protected the bulbs and gave their blooms a more natural setting.
To add to the festivities in 1978, Mrs. MacAusland and H. Flint Ranney planned the first “Annual Nantucket Garden Club Vintage Motor Car Outing,” with 19 antique vehicles registered. The Chamber of Commerce assumed the responsibility of organizing the parade and picnic in 1980
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Siasconset (Sconset) is a Wampanoag Algonquian term for "place of great bones" and is a village at the Eastern end of Nantucket..
Many who come to the island on vacation end up biking the approximately 7 miles from Town out to Sconset along Milestone Rd. Once there, the village center consists of The Post Office, The Sconset Cafe,(www.sconsetcafe.com), with liquor,beer, wine and gifts next door, Claudette's Sandwiches (they are big, you can share) has outdoor seating. The Siasconset Market has freshly baked baguette's daily and a great place for ice cream at the end of your bike ride.
Take Gully Rd to the right of Claudette's down to the beach and drive around Codfish Park where codfish did lay on the beach to dry when fisherman lived there at the turn of the the 19th Century.
In the early twentieth century Sconset was a a summer retreat for an actors colony that performed at The Sconset Casino. Actors came from Boston, New York and stayed in the cottages along Broadway and Front St.
Take a walk on The Bluff Walk which wanders through the front yards of some magnificent ocean front homes. It is a public access way.
And if you are looking for a spot to start your day, try the sunrises on Sconset beach. You will be the first to see the sun on Nantucket.
Front St. Sconset, MA