Lemon Lily banners hang elegantly side by side on display during a silent bidding auction on Saturday on Park Lane in Idyllwild, prior to the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Idyllwild’s traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony also benefited the Lemon Lily Festival, one of the town's newest events.

In May, 15 local artists created banners for the Third Annual Lemon Lily Festival. Before and during the festival, these pieces of art were hung in various locations throughout town. A judging occurred in June.

Before the Tree Lighting Ceremony began Pat Hughes, who organized the public banner event, held a silent auction of the art work. The proceeds were split between the artists and the cost of new banners for next year’s artists.

“This is the first ever set of art banners for Idyllwild and this was the first time I had auctioned a set of banners off via a sealed, silent auction,” Hughes wrote in an email.

While the committee was hoping to raise $1,500, they did reach $1,100. Eight of the 15 banners were sold. The remaining banners are still available and can be viewed online at http://lemonlilyfestival.com/about-the-lemon-lily-banner-banners/.

“The minimum bid was $100 and most sold in the $100 to $150 range,” Hughes said. “The public who was bidding seemed to enjoy themselves and were surprised it wasn’t just a ‘nice art show.’”

Half ($750) of the committee’s goal will purchase 15 blank banners for next year’s festival. “We’re only about $200 shy of that as it stands and we really hope to increase the number of banners to really dress the town,” Hughes added. The remainder is shared with the contributing artists.

The 1st Place Juried show winner was Colin Garth Smith and his work was also the People’s Choice. The public was invited to vote on their favorite banner and nearly 1,200 votes were cast, some from visitors as far away as Ohio.

“In my many years of doing this for other areas, this makes [Smith] the first ever double winner,” Hughes noted.

The second highest vote-getter for People’s Choice was Cara Carlson who also won 3rd Place in the juried portion of the process.

Then Laurie Brinkmann was 3rd in People’s Choice for her “Lovely Lemon Lilies” and Karliss Dabols came in 4th place for his entry, “Dreaming of Lilies.”