By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Daffodil festival marks 20th year

News-Register file photoThe statewide daffodil show is a highlight of Amity’s annual Daffodil Festival. Organizers expect more than 1,000 entries.
News-Register file photo
The statewide daffodil show is a highlight of Amity’s annual Daffodil Festival. Organizers expect more than 1,000 entries.

“It’s been quite a journey,” teacher Karen Fanning said. Her high school Hospitality, Tourism and Management class has organized the festival as a year-long class project since 1995. It provides students with event planning, business and financial training.

The program won the Oregon Small Schools Award of Excellence for Special Projects in 1996 and again in 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, Calif. Proceeds are used to fund the project and the Lynn Ramsdell Amity Daffodil Festival Scholarship fund.

The show’s centerpiece, as always, will be a statewide daffodil show sponsored by the Oregon Daffodil Society, which typically showcases a number of unusual varieties, as well as the more common types. The Junior Class Division of the show has been the largest in the nation for many years, according to the students’ press release.

Fanning said the flowers look likely to cooperate by blooming on time, always a question in Oregon’s fickle spring weather.

“We’re expecting the daffodil show to really be spectacular this year. Over 1,000 blooms would be my guess in the show itself, and then the farm will be in really nice bloom,” she said.

However, she noted, the festival goes on rain or shine, with plenty of indoor activities.

In addition to the judged daffodil show, the festival includes an art show and sale; a plant sale at which visitors can buy both cut and potted daffodils, along with a selection of other annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs and trees from nine local nurseries; gardening lectures; official volkswalks; and a self-guided driving tour to area attractions, including a daffodil farm.

The festival also includes a popular breakfast and dinner. It will be the fifth year of cooking for the festival for chefs Julie Horn and Carol Dauenhaer.

The art show, always a popular event, features both adult and youth entries, and school district art teachers Melinda Morefield and Joey Richmond have been working with students to produce art for both the show and sale.

“We’re expecting a great art show,” Fanning said. “We’re hoping it will be stellar for our 20th anniversary.”

Traditionally, the adult show has been open to adults throughout Yamhill County, but this year, Fanning said, they have decided to open it to all Oregonians.

Student artwork also is featured on the annual festival T-shirt. This year, Fanning said, it will be navy blue for the first time, with a yellow-orange daffodil on a light blue background. Firefly Studios, which operated in Amity for many years before moving to Santa Fe, N.M., printed the T-shirts. Fanning said studio staff offered to continue printing the shirts because they enjoyed working with the students.

The students’ classwork doesn’t end with the festival; once it’s over, there’s still plenty of wrap-up to do, such as paying vendors.

“We’ll be hitting the ground running the Monday after spring break,” Fanning said. “One of the things my students have discovered is that when you do a business, people want to be paid. … It’s a really good learning experience for my students to find out that there are timelines and deadlines in the business world, and they don’t wait.”

That good experience, she said, often pays off later, when the students are attending job fairs and seeking work.

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