Daffodil Weekend on Nantucket
Spring has sprung and so have plans for Nantucket’s annual Daffodil Festival. Every spring as the snow melts and gives way to patches of lilting yellow flowers, there is a palpable buzz in the air about the upcoming season and all the memories that will be made. Considered the unofficial start to the season, “Daffy,” as many call it, falls on the last weekend of April and is a classy and lighthearted nod to better weather and other charms of spring.
Centered around the daffodil, the weekend first began back in the 1970s when a few islanders held a parade with their antique cars, ending with a simple picnic in the beloved east end village of Sconset. The parade and picnic are still a part of today’s festivities, just on a larger scale. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors these events and many others throughout the weekend, including a flower show, children’s parade, hat pageant, and dog parade. Many homes and storefronts are festively decorated with daffodils, wreaths, ornaments, and other flowers and spring embellishments. The color scheme often mirrors that of Easter and other spring events, with a heavy emphasis on yellows, pinks, and other pastels.
Most folks who have attended or participated in the Daffodil Festival will agree that the best part of the weekend is the antique car parade and tailgate picnic in Sconset. On Saturday morning, all those vehicles that have registered for the parade begin to arrive on Main Street and line up on the cobblestones. Pedestrians mill around and admire the beautiful antique cars and hobnob with the owners while they put the finishing touches on their car decorations and outfits. At noon, the cars fire up their engines – some of the really old ones on their second or third attempt – and slowly chug around the block as onlookers wave and point out their favorites. Old fashioned horns beep and chime and the sounds of music, laughter, and chirping songbirds waft through the warm spring air.
The parade works its way out of town and slowly through the rotary and out to Sconset, passing more onlookers and thousands more daffodils planted along the Milestone Road. The cars then line up on the sides of Main Street in Sconset and the fete begins. Corks pop, tailgates are lowered, and picnic baskets are passed. Goodies ranging from decorated cookies to crudités to full-on lunch spreads are present at every vehicle. Along with car and costume prizes, there are even awards for the best picnic! After the formal festivities wind down in mid-afternoon, revelers enjoy cookouts and garden parties, all commemorating the advent of spring. Bocce, croquet, and other lawn games are a big hit, with the merriment continuing into the evening.
For those who don’t take in the Nantucket Community Flower Show on Saturday, they can catch it on Sunday at Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm. Viewing the hard work of local and visiting gardeners is a great way to round out a beautiful spring weekend on Nantucket. Break out your yellow sweaters and blue blazers, because Daffy is almost here and in true Nantucket fashion, it’s going to be quite a celebration.