Local News

Weather Worries Flower Lovers

Posted March 21, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Fayetteville's Dogwood Festival is just four weeks away but, with the lack of cooperation from Mother Nature, fans of these famous blooms may have to wait until next year for the spectacular sight.

Every spring the white blooms become the city's main attraction, bringing thousands of visitors from surrounding counties to Fayetteville.

This year, however, the blooms may be hurting -- our early warm weather brought some blooms out but the recent cold weather has taken its toll.

That, of course, is the tricky part for planners of festivals that are tied to nature -- whether they focus on flowers, seasonal foods, sporting events or the appearance of animals. If weather decides to behave like a very naughty child, festival organizers start reaching for the aspirin. Fishing and hunting contests, strawberry, blueberry, shad and oyster festivals, dogwood, tulip, azalea celebrations -- even winter carnivals and ice festivals, depend on weather doing what is expected of it.

Still, most organizers are shrewd enough to stage lots of other events and activities that make a festival fun, even if the main attraction isn't quite up to snuff.

And that's the case with Fayetteville's Dogwood Festival. There will be plenty to enjoy, even if horticultural experts are fretting about the trees.

The outside of some of the town's dogwood buds are still hard and brittle so everyone hopes they're tight enough so that the flowers haven't been damaged too much by cold. But the eventual flower can be be smaller because it is brittle. Those that have started to open a little bit may be lost.

Churchill Drive is one of the most popular dogwood trails in all of Fayetteville, and the people who live on the street are especially concerned that this year's blooms won't be up to par.

"All our dogwoods are blooming, all our azaleas are blooming, some of our flowers are coming up, and, yeah, we're worried about the yard. We're worried about everything here," said Bill Jones, one of the residents.

All Dogwood Festival organizers and homeowners can do now is wait and hope that every day when the sun goes down the temperatures stay up.