A perfect weekend with perfect weather and a perfect crowd provided the ingredients necessary for a successful Dazzling Dahlia Festival under the new normal of COVID-19 social distancing.
This year’s festival, which had been threatened with being canceled altogether due to the coronavirus pandemic, was saved when festival coordinators got creative and presented a radically changed, walking-tour event when faced with social distancing restrictions.
This year’s Dazzling Dahlia Festival exceeded all expectations, organizers said.
“I don’t have the words for how proud of us I am,” said event coordinator Kim Daugherty. “We crushed it.”
Daugherty offered thanks and praised her group’s “originality, creativity, diligence, patience, faith and hard work,” during the weeks of uncertainty leading up to the Sept. 19-20 festival.
According to Daugherty, the feedback from those who attended the festival was overwhelmingly positive as guests made their way to multiple locations to view some unique displays.
“We have successfully shown our little paradise a new vision for something wonderful,” she said.
A total of 33 entries were staggered about town as part of the festival, from Main Street, to Bryson’s to The Bascom for the two-day festival.
According to Daugherty, 550 votes were cast in the judging portion of the festival, though if it were left up to her, all the entries were winners given the circumstances under which this year’s Dahlia Festival had to perform.
“l do not even like having ‘winners’ because everybody who had faith in this idea, and put themselves and their creations out there is a winner,” Daugherty said, “But these are the displays our public votes selected.”
The Best of Show went to The Bascom with Dahlias at The Bascom. First Place went to Steal Dahlias by the Mountain Garden Club. Second place, Kirkin’ and Barefootin’ by Helen Steward and gang. Third Place, Nature’s Beauty Cannot Be Caged, by The Vineyard at 37 High Holly.
Three selections took home Honorable Mention Honors. They are: X Marked the Spot, by the Laurel Garden Club; The Bee’s Knees by Drew English, Drew’s Dahlias, and Still Life with Flowers by Jodie Zahner.
Daugherty said credit for the success of this year’s Dazzling Dahlia Festival goes community wide.
Only in a community as blessed and magical as ours can you do something that involves a whole town,” she said. “The best aspect of this has been the communal sharing, and friendly nature of what we did… The generosity of everyone with their time and talents was the most beautiful thing l have experienced in a good while.”