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    32nd annual Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival kicks off this weekend

    6:14 AM, Mar 19, 2010   |    comments
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    Video: Wye Mountain Daffodils

    • The flowers cover a seven acre hillside.
    • Andrew Oliver and Elizabeth Birchfield pose for a picture.
    • Alan Harmon's Great-Granfather planted the original bulbs in 1948.
        
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  • Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival
  • "They bloom every year. We do very little maintenance."

    It was 1948 when Austin and Betsy Harmon rented seven acres of land from a country church on Wye Mountain.

    Austin planted 65 bushels of daffodil bulbs on the land and for several years made a little money selling young bulbs at markets as far away as Kansas City.

    Today, that seven acres of sloping hillside is on of the most popular springtime attractions in Central Arkansas.

    "It's just something that's kind of a family tradition that I'm proud of," says Alan Harmon, whose great-grandparents started what has now turned into the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival.

    They don't harvest any bulbs anymore - they just let them grow.
    And for the last 32 years, the festival has provided a place for photos and memories in a beautiful field of bright yellow.

    Harmon says, "On a good weekend, a nice weekend, we'll have 10 or 15,000 people out here on Saturday and Sunday. And cameras and pictures, we get e-mails from people who send us pictures of what they've taken. It would be hard to count. I wish I had a penny for every one of them."

    "When we met, he brought me here and we've come ever since. So this was his idea the first time we ever came. It's a cheap date," says Lisa Brown. Brown and her husband, Terry, are married now, and still come each year to see the daffodils at Wye Mountain.

    Lisa Brown explains, "I think it's the serenity when everyone's out here. When it's the day that it officially opens and all the people are here, you see lot's of families taking Easter pictures. And it's just a nice, almost reverent feeling to be here just sitting in the flowers."

    They are, after all, perhaps one of the most enduring flowers of history.

    Traced back to the years before Christ, daffodils grow all over the world, native to North Arica and the Mediterranean - cultivated by the ancient Greeks - brought to the British Isles by the Romans.

    And here in Arkansas, just like the rest of the world, they are a bright and welcome indication that winter's grip has loosened -- and a new spring is just around the corner.

     

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