Bursting with blossoms

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published March 17, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 15, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Betty Harmon, co-chair of the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival, is a longtime volunteer with the festival. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, its last day.

For Betty Harmon, when March rolls around, it’s time for daffodils, daffodils and more daffodils.

Harmon, now a co-chairman of the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival, has been part of the festival since 1980.

As time goes on, Harmon said, she doesn’t get to do as much work as she wants.

“Most of these years, I worked out in the flowers greeting people,” she said.

Injuries have caused her to relocate from the flower field to the craft fair inside, but she still enjoys seeing the people who visit the field during the two weekends of the festival. She said the craft fair has about 12 vendors this year. The festival serves as a fundraiser for the Wye United Methodist Church.

“We sell daffodil bulbs and picked flowers for a dollar a dozen,” Harmon said.

She said this year’s festival is expected to be more successful than last year’s because the weather

has been better, and there are more flowers in bloom.

Harmon said she has ties that connect her to the longtime festival in Wye. Her husband, Charles, worked with his grandfather, Austin Harmon, to move the daffodils from his house to the field behind Wye United Methodist Church in 1948.

Betty’s son, David Harmon, also helps with the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival. David said his great-grandfather Austin contracted with Charles, when he was a senior in high school, to plant the flowers behind the church.

“He wanted to buy a typewriter for his typing class in high school,” David said. “[My father] contracted with his grandfather to plant 65 bushels of daffodils out here.”

David moved back to the Wye area after working out of state and knew he wanted to assist with something his dad helped start.

“This is [the place] I call home,” David said. “I always greet people and tell them about the field.”

David said that while he was growing up, he and his family lived in other states but always made their way back to Wye when the daffodils bloomed.

“We always came back every year,” David said.

David has now retired and is able to spend more time in the area that he loves so much.

“Before I retired, I was only out here on weekends. Now I’m out here every day,” David said.

Although her husband died in 1995, Betty has stayed with the festival all of these years because it connects her with her family and gives her a chance to give back to her church. The money made from the flowers goes directly to the church.

“[The church] is the reason we continue to do the festival,” Betty said.

The festival will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, its last day.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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