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story.lead_photo.caption Historic houses and cemeteries, re-enactments, arts and crafts and fields of daffodils help welcome spring at the 25th annual Camden Daffodil Festival.

Daffodils are the colorful harbingers of spring. Those buds and blooms popping up all over mean that winter is almost over. And, after a winter with some very cold weather, they're worth celebrating.

For the 25th year, the town of Camden is doing just that with the Camden Daffodil Festival on Friday and Saturday.

Camden Daffodil Festival

Friday-Saturday, Camden

General admission free, fees for some activities

(870) 836-9243

The festival began in 1993 as a simple gathering and daffodil garden tour. Since then, it has exploded to encompass the whole town with a wide variety of activities and attractions for all ages and interests.

Event chairman Emily Joran-Robertson explains that this year they've enlarged the children's activity area and teen zone and are welcoming a new troupe of Civil War re-enactors, bringing back a once-retired garden and adding new vendors.

Here are a few of the events taking place over the weekend:

• The historic home and garden tours set for the Daffodil Festival are the hallmark of the celebration.

This year's Daffodil Garden Tours visit Grace Hill, Dawson Daffodil Farm, Oakland Farm and, returning after some years off, Beale Daffodil Farm.

Also on the garden shuttle route, the Oakland Cemetery Walk features costumed re-enactors telling local stories.

Joran-Robertson says they've added new characters this year so it will be a fresh experience even for repeat visitors.

The Historic Homes Tour includes the McCollum-Chidester House Museum, which still has the home's original furnishings. A Civil War encampment with re-enactments and cannon firings can be found on the house's grounds.

Guests can drive to the house or garden stops that interest them most and pay an "a la carte" fee of $7 per location, but since parking can be tight, a more convenient option may be the shuttle from First United Methodist Church, 116 Jefferson St. It makes stops at each garden and home and the cemetery.

Tickets for either the full garden or home tour are $20 each. Special 25th anniversary tickets covering the shuttle, both garden and home tours and the cemetery walk, are $25.

"That's the best value by far," Joran-Robertson says.

• Grace Hill on Old Wire Road, one of the garden tour stops, hosts Dining in the Daffodils, a lunch with music and "good hospitality" each day for $15. Parking is $7 for those not on the garden tour shuttle.

• One new element this year is the Cardboard Challenge, a building challenge for local students that will be open for the public to watch, 9 a.m.-noon Friday.

"It's new and exciting and the kids are going to be dynamic," Joran-Robertson says.

• Saturday brings the Championship Steak Cook-off. Tickets for a steak with all the trimmings are $22 and must be bought in advance.

• Also on Saturday, collectors will show off their prized possessions at the Antique Car Show. Registration is $15 but admission for spectators is free.

• The 5K run starts at 7:30 a.m. (for walkers) and 8 a.m. (for runners) Saturday at the corner of Washington Street and Cash Road. Registration is $25.

Then there's the art show, Choctaw Indian demonstrations, crafts, quilt show and music by local bands and choirs.

"You can't do it all in one day," Joran-Robertson says.

Weekend on 03/08/2018

Print Headline: Camden's Daffodil Festival a promise of spring

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