Daffodil Days of Spring
By Helena Touhey
As Newport in Bloom declares on its website: “April is a month of delightful daffy doings.” Festivities officially begin on Saturday, April first, with a Daffodil Days Opening Ceremony planned at the Clarke Cooke House on Bannister’s Wharf from noon to 1 p.m., complete with a “dazzling daffy musket salute” by the Artillery Company of Newport.
The city’s mayor is expected to be in attendance, along with the 2023 Daffodil Queen, who will cut the daffodil garland and proclaim the official start of all April has to offer. At 12:15, a “Paw-rade” will depart from Bannister’s Wharf enroute to Queen Anne Square, where the “daffiest dressed dog” and “daffiest dressed human” will receive awards and prizes.
The following Saturday, on April 8, a Daffodil Ride will be held in partnership with Bike Newport, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The four-mile ride will kick-off from Touro Park and pass by many of the city’s best daffodil locations, ending at Ballard Park, which boasts 20,000 blooms. In keeping with the spirit of Daffodil Days, there will be a prize for the best decorated bike and daffiest outfit.
On Sunday April 23, in collaboration with the Audrain Automobile Museum, the “Driving Miss Daffodil” car parade will take place, featuring 50 decorated vehicles. The drive departs at 8 a.m. from First Beach and then cruises up Memorial Boulevard, through downtown Newport, around Ocean Avenue, and up to Castle Hill — where 40,000 daffodils will be on display. Drivers then head to Second Beach for Audrain’s festive Cars & Coffee. Like with the bike ride, participants are encouraged to decorate their rides — and themselves — in their best daffodil-themed regalia, with awards going to the most “daffily-dressed” entrants.
To date, the number of daffodils planted in Newport is 1,300,000 — and counting. Top spots for viewing fields of yellow include: Coddington Highway at West Main Road, Ballard Park off Hazard Road, along the Cliff Walk by the campus of Salve Regina, across from First Beach on Memorial Boulevard, and at Dunlap-Wheeler Park just opposite Flo’s Clam Shack.
Daffodil Days was launched in 2012, although the idea first germinated in 2006 with a project called Parks in Bloom, an effort that sought to plant 1 million daffodil bulbs throughout Newport (and which became a successful reality a dozen years later). The initiative is now part of Newport in Bloom, which was founded in 1982 with the goal of beautifying the city with flowers and gardens. For a complete list of daffodil-inspired happenings, visit: https://newportinbloom.org/our-activities/daffodil-days/.
On Sunday April 23, in collaboration with the Audrain Automobile Museum, the “Driving Miss Daffodil” car parade will take place, featuring 50 decorated vehicles.