The Idyllwild Lilac Festival Committee held its organizing meeting and began conceiving plans for the May 2015 event.
The inchoate committee agreed that its goal is the celebration of the lilac. The festival’s events are intended to generate greater appreciation for the shrub and the place it holds in history.
The cultivation of lilacs on the Hill has several decades of history before the germination of the festival.
With the help of many, Gary Parton, the lilac’s proponent, has planted more than 1,000 shrubs throughout town in the past year and has several hundred available now if others wish to plant them.
“I can see a time when a child or parent asks, ‘Are you coming to Idyllwild to see the lilacs?’” Parton said, expressing his vision of the multitude of lilacs in the village.
He has dozens of lilac varieties on his property, Alpenglow Gardens, where he offers lilac tours and teas for the last several years. Interest from off the Hill is growing, he told the group, which is the reason he and they are optimistic about the future of a Lilac Festival.
“It’s up to us. It’s as much work as we want,” he said. A full blooming festival would encompass two or three May weekends, he encouraged, but also recognized that the future festivals can evolve and grow from the seeds planted by the first ones.
“It will work if we don’t jam it too fast and don’t burn out the people,” he advised.
Activities could include judged shows of individual lilacs or lilac arrangements alone or with other plant species, gourmet events where lilacs are part of salads or desserts and walks or tours through town.
The committee has tentatively set 1 p.m., on the third Tuesday of each month at Parton’s garden for their meetings. The first was Tuesday, May 20; but at the suggestion of member Harold Voorheis, they will reconsider the time.
Also the group plans to establish a planting subcommittee that would oversee the planting and propagation of new lilacs throughout the year.
“Lilacs have stood the test of time, they’ve withstood great adversity,” Voorheis said. “Everyone can have one and can grow one. They’re easy and fun.”