News-Register file photo##Judges admire the best of show during this year’s Daffodil Festival. The festival, which ran 21 years, is being discontinued.
News-Register file photo##Judges admire the best of show during this year’s Daffodil Festival. The festival, which ran 21 years, is being discontinued.
By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Daffodil Festival runs its course

High School Principal Chris Daniels told the school board Wednesday night that the festival, a product of the high school’s hospitality and tourism management program for the last 21 years, is being discontinued.

Teacher Karen Fanning, driving force in the program, retired at the end of the 2014-15 school year in June, which played a part in the decision on the May festival, Daniels said.

“It’s been a struggle to host it for a few years,” he said. “There have been a lot of HTM I students involved, but only a handful of HTM II students, and they’re the ones who have really put it on.

“It’s disappointing. It was always a good weekend for Amity.”

Daniels said the festival had a rewarding finale last May, marking Fanning’s final year of teaching.

The festival was held at the elementary school. Over the years, it had blossomed into the host role for a statewide daffodil show sponsored by the Oregon Daffodil Society.

Last year, it also featured an art show, dinner, plant sale, commemorative postal cancellation and self-guided history walk, along with gardening presentations, children’s activities, volkswalks and self-guided tours of a local daffodil farm, alpaca ranch and vineyard.

Daniels said the school’s HTM classes will continue under the direction of Fanning’s replacement, Jeanna Malstrom. And he said an art show is planned for next May, in lieu of the daffodil extravaganza.

The students produced the inaugural festival in 1995. Fanning had seven students that year, and they needed a project.

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

She was involved in the Oregon Daffodil Society, she said, and its leaders embraced the idea of a daffodil festival. “I talked to the students about what it should look like, the components of the festival,” she said, and it took off from there.

Fanning called the first festival, a one-day event, “very primitive.”

The festival won the Oregon Small Schools Award of Excellence for special projects in 1996 and 2003. In 2005, it 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 cover event expenses with enough left over to fuel the Lynn Ramsdell Amity Daffodil Festival Scholarship Fund. That supported the awarding of more than $40,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors over the years.

In other business, industrial tech teacher John Stearns told the board he has applied for a $218,000 Career and Technical Education Revitalization Grant through the Oregon Department of Education.

Stearns said his construction students hope to design, build and market a “tiny house.” He said the money would be used to purchase equipment for that project, the welding program and future ventures in those and allied fields.

The board will meet next at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.