Dahlia Festival plans taking shape

  • Planning for the 2020 Highlands Historical Society Dahlia Festival is underway.
    Planning for the 2020 Highlands Historical Society Dahlia Festival is underway.

While other festivals and celebrations in and around the plateau have fallen victim to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the 10th anniversary of the Highlands Historical Society’s Dazzling Dahlia Festival is soldiering onward. 

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 requirements.

“COVID-19 is impacting every area of our lives, and most things are being canceled, but nature is thriving,” Daugherty said by phone on Tuesday. “Dahlias are growing, and the patience that nature teaches us 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,” Daugherty said. 

On Sept. 19-20 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 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. 

Gardening enthusiasts – either individual gardeners or groups, such as garden clubs, churches, nonprofits and businesses – are invited to apply to create a native plant vignette, which is 50-percent dahlias and 50-percent native plants that will be placed strategically around town. 

“You may be an individual, you may get a group of people and or businesses together to team up to do something,” Daugherty said. “The display may be small or large, simple or elaborate. Be creative. It may be a literal or figurative creation, it can represent something, it can be something – yes, you may use props – or it may be a simply jaw dropping floral display.”

The sky is the limit, Daugherty said. 

While specific plans for this year’s 10th anniversary celebration are still undetermined at this point in time, one thing people can count on is there will be a Dazzling Dahlia Festival and there will be dahlias seen throughout Highlands. 

“This has the opportunity to be something really special,” she said.  “We will highlight historical and places of interest.”  

All entry applications must be submitted by Aug. 20, along with the $25 entry fee, which is payable to the Highlands Historical Society. For more information, questions, and to enter email either Kim Daugherty at gatorsinparadise@gmail.com, or Lisa Dailey at ldailey13@msn.com. 

“All information and rules will be given to entrants, and we will have an information meeting for entrants on Aug. 24,” Daugherty said.