Marcus Larson/News-Register file photo##Judges Peggy Tigner, Margaret Pansegrau, Steve Vinisky and Theresa Fritchle inspect entries in the miniature category during the 2014 Amity Daffodil Festival.
Marcus Larson/News-Register file photo##Judges Peggy Tigner, Margaret Pansegrau, Steve Vinisky and Theresa Fritchle inspect entries in the miniature category during the 2014 Amity Daffodil Festival.
By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Amity will be all about daffodils this weekend

Festival features flower show, presentations, plant sale

The celebration, now in its 21st year, runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, March 22, at Amity Elementary School. A statewide daffodil show sponsored by the Oregon Daffodil Society highlights the event. Public viewing of the displays will start at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.

If You Go

What: 21st annual Amity Daffodil Festival


Where: Amity Elementary School, 300 Rice Lane, east of Trade Street (Highway 99W).


When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22.


Information: Visit the website


Additionally, the festival offers an art show, commemorative postal cancellation, dinner, gardening expert presentations, kids’ activities, plant sale, self-guided tour to a local daffodil farm in bloom, vineyards, alpaca farm and other local attractions, self-guided historic walk of Amity and volkswalks.

Karen Fanning’s hospitality, recreation and tourism class at Amity High School has produced the festival since 1995. That first year, seven students were enrolled, and they needed a project.

“It was curriculum-based,” Fanning said of the class. “In engaging the students and making them want to be there, we needed to do something.”

She had connections to the Oregon Daffodil Society and was actively involved with the organization. So, hosting a daffodil festival seemed like a natural undertaking for the class.

“We got on board with the society. They were all for it,” Fanning said. “I talked to the students about what it should look like, the components of the festival.”

Given the extensive planning that now goes into producing the successful community event, Fanning almost laughs when she thinks back to the first year.

“It was a one-day event,” Fanning said. “The food was nachos and hot dogs. And the hot dogs were so overdone, they were coming out of the skin. The daffodils were displayed in a shed. It was very primitive.”

By comparison, dinner this year includes barbecued pork loin or vegetarian lasagna, red mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, a salad and more.

Out-of-towners and community members who attended the inaugural festival thought it was a great idea, Fanning said. It was a good way to show off what Amity has to offer.

“People offered to help and wanted to become involved,” Fanning said. “An advisory committee met for three years. They fleshed out a mission, brought resources to the table, engaged in working with the class, and as they say, the rest is history.”

The festival has twice won the Oregon Small Schools Award of Excellence for special projects, in 1996 and 2003.

In 2005, the festival was chosen as one of the two youth service-learning projects from Oregon to be represented in the National Service-Learning Exchange in Long Beach, California.

Festival proceeds support event expenses, projects and the Lynn Ramsdell Amity Daffodil Festival Scholarship Fund. More than $40,000 in scholarships have been awarded over the years, according to Fanning.

Recipients are graduating Amity High seniors, selected based on their contribution to the festival and commitment to service. Scholarships have ranged from $200 to $1,500.

Fanning said her greatest joy in watching the festival come together every year is realizing that Amity students are capable of amazing things.

“Guests are in awe of the fact that this is a student project,” she said. “This is their project. the planning, letter writing, news releases, contacting nurseries, lining up presenters and bringing daffodils to the show. It all belongs to them.”

For complete information on this year’s festival, go to https://sites.google.com/a/amity.k12.or.us/amity-daffodil-festival.

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