By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Amity Daffodil Festival a celebration of spring

Marcus Larson/News-Register file photoKarlene McDowell stops and smells the daffodils during last year’s festival. The judged flower show is a highlight of the annual event.
Marcus Larson/News-Register file photo
Karlene McDowell stops and smells the daffodils during last year’s festival. The judged flower show is a highlight of the annual event.

Students in Karen Fanning’s Hospitality, Tourism and Management class, which organizes the event, are charged with festooning the walls with flower-filled art and covering the tables in bright blooms. And it’s an experience many of them never quite leave behind.

So when advanced students Rosa Alba and Anna Allen asked former student Shanna Ryule if she would design new banners to hang around town, based partly on student suggestions, she readily agreed. And when they asked her if she could offer them a special rate for her highly sought professional services, she told them there would be no rate at all.

“She said, ‘I am an HTM student,’” Fanning said. “‘And once an HTM student, always an HTM student.’”

Ryule has plenty of past experience with the festival. “In her day, she did a T-shirt design, and a pen design back when we had the pens, and a postal cancellation,” Fanning recalled.

Moments like those keep the festival unique and dear to her.

As for Alba and Allen, they threw themselves into the project of lining up local businesses to sponsor banners, finding sponsors for 13 of them.

The festival is set to run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, at Amity Elementary School, 300 Rice Lane.

As always, students throughout the Amity School District have been busy with preparations all year.

Elementary school students planted daffodils around their school and drew and painted the artwork that will be posted on all of the walls. Older students created art for the annual art show.

HTM students, who are studying for college credit, planned the food service menu, organized the plant sale, developed a new T-shirt design, arranged for a children’s activity room, booked speakers and set up a judged daffodil show under the auspices of the Oregon Daffodil Society, which sent representatives into the classrooms of teachers who had signed up, to teach youngsters how to groom their homegrown flowers to look good for competition.

“The junior division of the daffodil show been the largest in the nation since we’ve had a judged show,” Fanning said. It is, she said, very satisfying to see so many local young people involved.

“Everything that is part of the festival is actually something produced by or coordinated by the students, and we really make an effort to incorporate K-12,” she said.

The designer of this year’s T-shirt, which will be offered for sale during the show, is senior Seleste Stephenson. She created a “very bold, elegant” design of a blooming daffodil, Fanning said.

She said students elected to print on a maroon background, working with Amity’s Firefly Studios.

“It’s fabulous,” she said. “I’m very excited about the T-shirt design this year.”

As for the weather, Fanning said, “That’s the one thing we can never control.”

She said, “We’ve tried moving the dates of the festival. We tried going early, and it was a late spring. We tried going later, and it was an early spring. So we’re going to go back to the first weekend of spring break.”

Fortunately, spring seems to be in a cooperative mood this year. As a result, Fanning said, the blooms look promising.

“My predictions are that the flowers will be glorious,” she said. “But whether it rains or the sun is shining, we’ll be there, providing the best festival experience we can possibly provide.”


What: Amity Daffodil Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24
Where: Amity Elementary School, 300 Rice Lane
Entry fee: Free

  • Early bird breakfast, 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday: Fruit parfaits, breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls, coffee, juice and milk.
  • Dinner, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days: Baked ham, vegetarian lasagna, scalloped potatoes, green beans with onions and peppers, green salad with assorted toppings, rolls, dessert, including ice cream sundae bar.
  • Plant sale.
  • Oregon Daffodil Society judged show, open to the public starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.
  • Drop-in plant clinic hosted by the Master Gardeners of Yamhill County.
  • A self-guided driving tour of a local daffodil farm, nursery and other attractions.
  • A self-guided historic walk through Amity.
  • “Daffodils in Art” show and sale.
  • Commemorative postal cancellation, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
  • Family activity room, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Three official volkswalks on Sunday, sponsored by Eugene-Springfield Mossback Volkssport. Registration will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.


  • 11 a.m. Saturday: Amity historian Doris Baker, “streets, signs and snippets.”
  • Noon Saturday: Yamhill County Master Gardener Marcia Sherry, on “spring container design.”
  • 1 p.m. Sunday: Steve Vinisky, owner of Cherry Creek Daffodils, on “Daffodil Growing in the Willamette Valley.”
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