Warkworth Lilac Festival
by Festival Nomad Correspondent, Kevin Stuart
Spring Holiday Weekend
For so many of us, spring is a marvelous time of year with everything and everyone seeming to come back to life. For many years the village of Warkworth has already been home to one of the first rites of spring with the maple syrup festival which we’ve recently written about at Ontario Festivals Visited. On Victoria Day weekend 2011, the village initiated a nod to another passage of the season with the Warkworth Lilac Festival. As we walked along the Millennium Trail, we saw over 300 blooms from plantings all done by over 70 volunteers during the last year and a half. The trail winds along the banks of Mill Creek and the day we went was among the first to be not only spring like but summer like. It’s obvious a lot of work went into the placement and planting of these trees, some of which will eventually grow more than 7 metres high.
Following our walk along the nearly 2 and a half kilometre trail, we stepped inside the welcome shade of the red barn where more floral displays could be viewed. Outside we savoured some tasty homemade cupcakes and freshly squeezed lemonade served by youngsters at an old fashioned lemonade stand set up. With the weather being that warm it was a welcome treat.
Also nearby for car enthusiasts, many classic cars were on display. The presence of these machines, particularly the convertibles, seems a natural way to usher in the days of being out in the fresh air. For anyone wanting to continue capturing the feeling from that era, Saturday evening brought a rock and roll dance at the arena featuring local favourites Freddy Vette and the Flames. For serious gardeners of all types, renowned expert Mark Cullen was on hand to give a lecture and help other aspiring lilac growers.
It’s often difficult to stage any sort of event for the first time. However, I believe the organizers of the Warkworth Lilac Festival are on track to continue growing this into an event that will attract visitors who are ready to welcome spring for many years to come. No doubt that with each passing year we will see it grow along with the lilac plants themselves.