Daylily Festival returns to the Botanical Garden, live music scheduled for Thursday

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The 13th Annual Daylily Festival returns to the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden with a busy week of festivities to celebrate one of the largest flower collections in the state. The event takes place from June 13 to 18, highlighted by an evening of live music on Thursday.

Bourbon Revival will headline the live musical event, covering popular songs from various genres and decades, all with a bluegrass twist. The event also includes Gene’s Fresh Food Truck and Southern Secrets Desserts paired with a cash bar and wine tasting.

“It’s a cool night to be in the garden after hours; it’s a very unique experience,” said Executive Director Laurna Strehl. “The event is aimed at adults, but everyone is welcome. The band enjoyed huge success last year. You could be singing Journey one minute, and the next you’re singing Miley Cyrus wrecking ball.”

Admission for Thursday is $20 per person, with children 12 and under admitted free. Buy tickets for the event here.

Although the festivities have continued during the pandemic, this is the first year the event has brought back a sense of normality with minimal restrictions. This also marks the first year of the new entrance, which immediately greets customers with the newly constructed Path of Hope and Healing.

The trail features ribbons in the colors of Kentucky’s 12 major cancer diagnoses and ends with a 21-foot-tall artistic sculpture of butterflies, the largest of which has a 10-foot wingspan.

A free rock painting experience for young people highlights Monday’s events, while Tuesday hosts lunch, listen and learn with daylily enthusiast Kay Comer. The Owensboro Art Guild will host the Plein Air Paint Out on Saturday morning, with an art contest with cash prizes.

The party ends on Saturday afternoon with Family Fun Day, sponsored by US Bank. Beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m., the event includes a petting zoo, a magician, theatrical performances, face painting, a guided children’s hike, and the Real Hacienda Food Truck.

Strehl said the garden is famous for its daylilies and they recently added a full-time employee specifically for the flowers. This, coupled with increased volunteerism and extra attention, created a more exquisite flower-viewing experience.

“Every year there are people who anticipate daylilies and make it a celebration,” she said. “We gave them a lot of extra attention and were able to add a lot of seasonal help through Americorp. This year you will see a noticeable difference when you look at the beds.”

She attributed the increase in volunteering to the supportive community and said the garden is a shining star right now and people want to be a part of it.

“This is one of the largest assortments of daylilies, with over 800 varieties and thousands of flowers,” Strehl said. “Everything looks amazing right now, and we’re thrilled to share and promote that beauty through this festival.”

A detailed program of events is available on the garden’s website here.

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