Planning for the seventh-annual Lemon Lily Festival is underway, according to Amanda Allen, Idyllwild Nature Center park interpreter, who is organizing the two-day festival for the weekend of July 9 and 10. The whole event will kick off Friday night when heads and eyes will tilt upward to the skies rather down at the ground.

The Festival will have a new opening event. “Since Lemon Lilies are most fragrant in the early evening, we’ve decided to kick off this year’s Lemon Lily Festival with a nod to the nighttime sky,” Allen said. “This year, the Nature Center will be offering a special star-gazing program on the Friday evening before the Lemon Lily Festival gets underway.”

This spring, Allen and others intend to plant some Lemon Lily bulbs that will soon be germinating as part of the restoration program, which festival fees fund.

Returning visitors will recognize many of the festival features, such as Pioneer Town and the Pennyroyal Players

A major new activity will be hikes to blooming Lemon Lilies in two different areas. One will be on the grounds of the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve, a part of the University of California’s Natural Reserve System. The other will be a trek to the high country.

Allen encourages festival goers to join local astronomy enthusiasts for constellation tours, star stories old and new, and telescope viewing. All will begin at 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 8, in the campground at Idyllwild County Park.

Pennyroyal Players use storytelling and songs to present portraits of people who settled the American West. Their experiences reveal some of the hardships, triumphs and humor that were part of the pioneering life in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Pioneer Town continues to be popular with both children and adults, offering the opportunity to learn what life was like during a time when the Lemon Lily was prolific in Idyllwild.