As far as flowers are concerned, the daffodil symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings. This association with new beginnings, and the coming of spring, relates to the daffodil’s ability as a perennial to bloom first after a winter frost. The vibrant and sweetly fragrant Narcissus never disappoints.
Each year, the Daffodil Festival in Candor, New York celebrates the beginning of spring, and does so in conjunction with the Zamoiski family on Candor Hill Road — who since 2008 have planted over 54,000 daffodils in honor of their mother, Joy Zamoiski. In fact, the words Joy can be seen from above as the formation in which they were planted.
The family opens the fields to the public for two weekends, and also uses volunteers to deliver cut daffodils to patients and shut-ins. In 2019, and pre-COVID, volunteers picked and delivered over 30,000 daffodils to over 6,000 people. The family was hoping to beat that number this year.
And although the daffodil and the Candor festivities mark the beginning of spring, things were a bit different this year. In fact, last year’s events were completely canceled, like many others, due to the pandemic.
For this year, however, the event, which is hosted by Candor’s Chamber of Commerce, was held with safety and CDC recommended protocols in place.
Cheryl Berg, who sits on the board at the Candor Chamber of Commerce, stated that attendance was good. She also explained how they had things spaced apart for the vendors, and that the distance to walk down through the tents allowed for guests to remain 6-feet apart. The majority of the guests were also wearing face coverings.
Vendor Lisa Dean, who arrived with Lisa’s Countryside Crafts out of Burdett, N.Y., was happy to be back out.
“Feels good to be back,” said Dean, adding, “It’s a sense of normalcy.”
Destany Stanley, of Apalchin, was out as a vendor for her very first time, and at an event that was limited in attendance and with COVID restrictions. That didn’t bother her though.
Destany, who does business as Destany’s Dreamy Cacti and Things, got her EIN, or Employee Identification Number in February and started a website. Now that things are loosening up, however, she plans to take her products out wherever she can. Diffusers, oils, and tie-dye shirts are just a few of the items that Destany offers.
Also on site for the day were members of the Candor Emergency Medical Squad. As a service, the squad is normally on-hand for the events, but this year they wanted to highlight reflective numbers they have available for residents to place on a pole near their drive.
“It helps us to find your house,” said Doug Bruttomesso, who was manning the table on Saturday with Mark Brown, both squad members.
They also noted that the annual Mother’s Day BBQ sold out quickly this year, with 650 orders placed.
The Catatonk Woodcarvers were also represented at Candor’s Daffodil Festival on May 1, with an assortment of cleverly crafted wooden sculptures on display.
According to Roger Westgate, it was cold in the morning, but when the weather warmed up it picked up.
And of course there was a food vendor on-site, and some live entertainment. And although the crowd was a little smaller than in the past, the guests that did arrive were enjoying the warm, sunny weather, and a day out following a long year of shutdowns and uncertainty.
On May 1, the daffodil represented a sign of hope.