MERIDEN -- Those expecting to see rows and rows of beautiful daffodils at this year's Meriden Daffodil Festival may be out of luck. The mild winter, then burst of snow to kick off April is wreaking havoc on the delicate flowers.
"The flowers came way too early," said Mark Zebora, Meriden's Director of Parks and Public Buildings. He noted the parks 600,000 daffodils started to sprout during the first week of February. The festival is scheduled to run from April 30 to May 1.
The city is urging those who typically come view the flowers during the festival to head to Hubbard Park much sooner.
"We are thinking in seven to 10 days they will be peeking in the entire park," said Zebora. But he doesn't think the the lack of flowers at a flower-inspired festival is going to be a bummer for business.
"One of the main things, main draws for a lot of people I know is local bands they have," said John Frascatore of Southington. "It's a big showcase for local bands that don't get much recognition."
The Meriden Daffodil Festival will feature 29 bands, fireworks, food, entertainment, a business expo and still some daffodils.
"A lot of floats that are in the Daffodil Festival parade have artificial daffodils," said Sean Moore, President of the Midstate Chamber of Commerce.
2016 marks the 38th year of the festival. Zebora has been involved with nearly 30 of them, but he said early blooming is a rarity.
"What I recall," said Zebora. "Once in 1992 and once around 2000."
Up to 100,000 people have attended Meriden's signature weekend.
"There are buses that come in from Rhode Island and Massachusetts," noted Moore.
In an effort to grow this tradition, the city spends about $10,000 a year planting up to 40,000 additional bulbs to make sure the park keeps up its reputation.