MERIDEN — More than half a million daffodils in full bloom are expected to grace this year’s 40th annual Daffodil Festival in Hubbard Park this weekend.
“The flowers out now are brilliant and that should continue … As long as the next eight to 10 days is a warmer weather pattern,” said Mark Zebora, festival chairman. “If there’s a really heavy frost, there’s concern.”
Parks and Recreation Director Chris Bourdon said in past years the flowers have sometimes bloomed too early and faded before the festival. Below-average temperatures in April should help the display this year.
“They’re probably about a third to a half in bloom,” Bourdon said Thursday. “It should be one of the best years for flowers being in bloom close to the festival.”
The Daffodil Festival itself is celebrating 40 years, but the Hubbard Park daffodils go back to the late ’40s and early ’50s, Bourdon said.
The daffodils are shipped from the same flower grower in Holland every year. Between 20,000 and 40,000 new flowers are planted every October.
Back then, park superintendent James J. Barry kept a greenhouse in the park and introduced the flowers.
“This was really (Barry’s) legacy, that was really taken up and supported by Mark Zebora,” Bourdon said.
Berry likely chose daffodils for their beauty and vibrancy, Bourdon said.
It is illegal to pick the daffodils because it will substantially reduce the plant’s life and they will not come back as strong the next year, Bourdon said. There are signs up around the park displaying the penalty for pickers.
In addition to new flowers, visitors will see a new “Welcome to Hubbard Park” sign at the upper entrance. The double-sided sign was installed Wednesday.