The 3rd Annual Lemon Lily Festival festivities begin with an evening of food, beverage, music and a creekside visit to see lemon lilies in bloom on Thursday, July 19. The “Lemon Lily Launch” 5 to 7 p.m. at the home of Erin O’Neil offers beauty and pleasures for the eyes, ears and palate in the lovely O’Beck Garden — music by Joe Baldino, lemon lily beer by Idyllwild Brewing Company, cocktails by Scott Fisher, hors d’oeuvres by Design and lemon lilies blooming on Strawberry Creek by Mother Nature. Tickets are $20 and include two drinks, food and the garden tour. Tickets can be purchased at the Nature Center and the post office. Sales benefit restoration of the native lemon lily, one of the key objectives of the festival.
Friday offers more gastronomic gusto with the annual Taste of Idyllwild at the Nature Center, the primary festival site. Idyllwild’s finest chefs present samples of their best and the event, from 5 to 7 p.m., also launches the Lemon Lily silent auction. Tickets are $20 and are available at the post office and Nature Center.
New this year, and expanding in scope and excitement even as of this writing are the bluegrass concerts that begin 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Park Lane between Jo’An’s Restaurant and the Fort. The street will be alive with a main performance stage, tables, hay bales, barbecue, hot dogs and a beer truck. The main attraction will be the return of bluegrass music to Idyllwild.
The Reedy Creek Rogues open from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Headliner Silverado plays from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m., with Kathleen Johnson on autoharp and vocals and Jamie Olsen, guitar and vocals sitting in.
Bluegrass resumes at noon Sunday with Bucket List, Johnson, Olsen, Don Reed, Fred Wade on bass and Eric Uglum on guitar, mandolin and vocals. Uglum, who operates New Wine Sound Studio and Audio Mastering Lab, has a recently released and well-reviewed new CD, “Shenandoah Wind.”
Following Bucket List, Bodie Mountain Express, who have played with Ray Price, Tammy Wynette, Kenny Rogers and others, take the stage at 1:45 p.m. At 3 p.m. there will be a bluegrass jam.
With festival events, including a high country hike in search of lemon lilies, both in town and at the Nature Center, and shuttle transportation available between locations, there will be much for attendees to enjoy and celebrate. Proceeds for events go to lemon lily education and restoration.
Check out the full program for the Saturday and Sunday events, July 21 and 22 at www.lemonlilyfestival.com.