Dahlia Festival on display Sept. 19-20

  • Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor signs a proclamation celebrating this weekend’s 10th annual Dahlia Festival. From left, Kim Daugherty holding the book, Taylor and Lisa Dailey.
    Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor signs a proclamation celebrating this weekend’s 10th annual Dahlia Festival. From left, Kim Daugherty holding the book, Taylor and Lisa Dailey.

While other standard festivals and celebrations in and around the plateau has fallen victim to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the 10th anniversary of the Highlands Historical Society’s Dazzling Dahlia Festival will go on as scheduled Friday and Saturday. 

Event coordinator, Kim Daugherty has figured out a way to have the flower festival, scheduled for Sept. 19-20 in Highlands, and still maintain social distancing requirement.

“The year 2020 will go down in history as a year to remember, but for all the wrong reasons,” Daugherty said. “Historic events are happening in every aspect of our lives because history never takes a break. While our lives are being altered in ways we never imagined, nature is thriving.”

Dahlias are growing, and the patience that nature teaches will be rewarded with a stunning  and colorful late summer display of flowers.

With COVID-19 throwing a bit of a wrench into the standard walking tour around the historical society’s grounds, Daughtery is taking this year’s festival to the streets of Highlands. 

“Because of COVID-19 restrictions we are having to do things a little differently this year and since hosting the festival on the Highlands Historical Society grounds is against social distancing restrictions, we can spread the flower displays out and open it up to the streets of Highlands,” she said. 

This Saturday and Sunday, Highlands will be the backdrop for vignettes of dahlias placed around town. Dahlias and native plants will be arranged in random locations around Highlands with an emphasis on historical sites, Daugherty said. 

“The 10th Annual Dazzling Dahlia Festival is actually an interesting reply to our new way of socially distanced living. Highlands Historical Society is hosting over 30 clubs, businesses, non- profits, churches, and individuals as they decorate our little town with enchanting dahlia installations,” Daugherty said. “Dahlias will of course be the star of the show, but there will also be locally grown plants and flowers showing off also. Growers, floral designers, creative types and history buffs have come together to create an experience unlike any Highlands has had before.”

Saturday and Sunday, dahlia vignettes will be all over Highlands, from Bryson’s to Highlands Historical Village, Main Street, side streets, hidden in squares, inside shops, the old jail, and of course in the park. 

“They will feature dahlias, local plants, and Highlands history, but most of all they will showcase the talent and creativity of our people,” Daugherty said. “Each vignette tells a story, some serious, some silly. You will want to walk and drive around town to see the beauty and whimsy on display. 

The best part about the weekend flower festival, is this is a free and socially distanced event. 

“The vignettes will be up all weekend and the public will choose the winners,” Daugherty said. “You vote online at highlandshistory.com, again for free, so don’t miss the opportunity to help select the winners.”

Voting will continue all weekend until 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon when the top vote-getter will be crowned the Dazzling Dahlia of the festival.

“There will be keys with vignette locations placed in strategic locations; so pick up a key and enjoy the gift of the creativity of some talented folks, and the beauty that the Highlands plateau blesses us with,” Daugherty said.  

The public is asked to vote for their favorites.

“The beauty and bounty of this spectacular plateau will be on stunning display, a joyful celebration of dahlias and native plants sponsored by Highlands Historical Society,” she said. “Our hope is to give us all a moment of joy, nature’s gift, created by the creative and talented people of our town. 

Donations always appreciated at highlandshistory.com, because history doesn’t take a break. 

According to Daugherty, a festival map will be available for download beginning Sept. 17 at Highlandshistory.com.