Lemon Lily launch party July 11

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A Taste of Idyllwild, a launch party for the 2014 Lemon Lily Festival, is being held at the home of Erin O’Neil from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 11.

Two fun events from past years are being combined for this year’s festival. An early evening of food, beverage, music and nature benefits the Lemon Lily restoration and the Idyllwild Garden Club. Enjoy Erin O’Neill’s O’Beck Garden and celebrate the Lemon Lily in its natural environment while experiencing culinary creations by some of Idyllwild’s most popular restaurants.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets may be purchased prior to the event at the Nature Center or by PayPal at info@lemonlilyfestival.com.

The Lemon Lily Festival is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, with Maureen McElligott delivering a blessing at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Founded in 2009 and in its fifth year, the festival’s mission is to promote, restore, and educate the public about the Lemon Lily (Lilium parryi), a species of lily indigenous to the San Jacinto Mountains. Early in the 20th century, the mountains were covered in this fragrant yellow flower, often found growing near moist riparian areas. Over the course of the last century, the Lemon Lily was severely over-harvested by visitors to the point of near-local extinction.

In 2009, a group of local business folk, along with the support of the Idyllwild Nature Center, formed a committee to raise awareness and support in an effort to restore the Lemon Lily to its natural habitat, as well as promote the mountain village of Idyllwild.

In 2010, the late Huell Howser produced a segment for “Visiting with Huell Howser” about the festival.

With an average attendance of 3,000 visitors, the festival offers activities for all ages: A real, old-time pioneer town, educational talks and activities, nature hikes, crafts, food, live bluegrass music, a beer garden, local artisans and much more. Many activities are free, and all proceeds go to help restore the Lemon Lily to the San Jacinto Mountains. The Lemon Lily Festival is supported by the Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain Parks, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.

For more information, email info@lemonlilyfestival.com, visit www.lemonlilyfestival.com or call the Idyllwild Nature Center at 951-659-3850.

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