The sixth-annual Lemon Lily Festival begins Thursday, July 9, with the increasingly popular and favorite Lemon Lily Launch and the Taste of Idyllwild. Then the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, is filled with special events for children and adults.

The festival was started to honor a once very common native flower in the mountains and to educate the public about this beautiful and unique flora.

All the events are at the Idyllwild Nature Center, and shuttles will provide rides from town to the center of the festival.

At 8:30 a.m. Saturday, the traditional Lemon Lily Blessing opens the two-day festival. Maureen McElligott will bless the planting of a Lemon Lily in its native home on the Hill.

Pioneer Town returns to remind us of what life was many decades ago. Pony rides, roping, gold panning, blacksmith demonstrations, and many more displays and presentations will be available.

The favorite Penny Royal Players also will be present two shows each day of the festival. Other popular entertainers will appear during the two days. Idyllwild’s That’s All Folk — Elaine Balkman, Bill Sheppard, John King, Lee Miracle and Craig Wills — will perform folk and rock music from the 1960s and 1970s.

Three for Joy, a Celtic music and Irish dance band, will attract many fans, since the three sibling performers are all younger than age 12. Dominic Padula, 11, is the eldest on fiddle, cello and mandolin. Angel Rose is 8 and Joseph is 9.

The festival also is a fundraiser to restore Lemon Lilies throughout their native habitat. Visitors may join the silent auction or purchase a ticket for a chance to bring home a metal Lemon Lily sculpture from the renowned artist Dore Capitani.

Visiting the festival also is an opportunity to explore the Nature Center and its natural environment, including nature walks and Lily Creek. Local Toni Berthelotte, former Garden Club president, and Deborah Giesinger, certified arborist, will speak both days.

Another appeal of a day at the festival is numerous vendors for everyone and all ages. Festival planners have gathered an assortment: candles, jewelry, ceramics, essential oils, jams and jellies, hand-painted note cards and many more.

The festival is a product of months of preparation and dedication from the Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks and the Idyllwild Garden Club.

The Lemon Lily Launch and Taste of Idyllwild is an opportunity to sample dishes from Idyllwild’s favorite restaurants. Tickets for the Thursday, July 9 event are $25. They may be purchased or reserved with a call to the Nature Center at (951-659-3850), in front of the Post Office on Monday or Tuesday, July 6 and 7, or for $30 at the door.

Entrance fees to the Nature Center are $4 for adults, $3 for children and $1 for dogs.