Before we know it, June will arrive and usher in another Festival of Flowers. The 47th Festival of Flowers, to be precise, and this one has a couple of twists and turns to it.
For one, there will be no involvement on the part of Park Seed Co. While that is a bit like not having rye bread with a Reuben, a chocolate bunny with Easter, a visit from Santa at Christmas, a -- well, you get the idea -- bear in mind that nothing is so constant as change itself. And the Festival of Flowers has been undergoing changes in recent years.
Some events have gone by the wayside, others were added. The monthlong event is getting tapered a bit so it focuses on what has always been the biggest weekend, the main event, in late June.
Let’s face it. It’s a festival with many facets to it and not having Flower Day at Park Seed has largely been replaced by the many fun topiaries displayed Uptown. Granted, had it not been for Park Seed there would be no Festival of Flowers, but I’d be willing to bet you that Washington, D.C., would somehow retain a Cherry Blossom Festival even if all the cherry blossom trees died.


This year’s Flower Power theme provides a fun and interesting twist. Gene Ellenberg who, along with Jennifer Smith, designed the official festival poster, wanted to incorporate a VW Bug in the design. But there is no VW Bug topiary, so that did not pan out. In talking with Ellenberg on Thursday night at the reception for the release of “Web of Water: Reflections of Life Along the Saluda and Reedy Rivers,” I agreed the idea for the topiary was a good one, and would have added a nice touch to the theme and poster’s potential design. But there wasn’t time to produce the topiary.
Maybe that theme will resurface. And maybe there could even be a VW bus. You want a flower power throwback? The bus is it. Many of us remember the VW buses tooling slowly down the highways, all decorated with various decals or psychedelic paint schemes. And if it wasn’t the exhaust pipe that was spewing smoke, you knew you could count on seeing smoke pouring out the windows, giving off a smell similar to that of burning rope. It’s doubtful Festival of Flowers executive director Ellesor Holder will take the Flower Power theme to that extreme, but you can see how much fun it would be to add topiaries. Maybe even with moving parts. And smoke.
But back to this year’s festival. What else can we do to prop up the theme? I’m thinking the kids could have fun learning how to paint some of those psychedelic images we recall from the ’60s and ’70s. You know, today’s CD covers just couldn’t do justice to some of the artwork that adorned good ole vinyl albums back in the day.
Holder is even encouraging festival-goers to go all out themselves and wear clothing appropriate to that era. Hey, why not? As for me, I’m planning on letting the hair grow out. And while I don’t have any of my clothes from the early ’70s, mainly because I’d be lucky if my arm fit in a pants leg, I’m going to have to launch a search for some cool hip-hugging bell bottoms. I’ll also see if I can find some of those shirts I used to wear, the ones with the puffy sleeves. They had floral patterns, rope-like trim and even paisley patterns. A few cool beaded necklaces with the peace sign would be good. And, of course, sandals. Sandals will be a fashion must during the festival. Oh! And a pair of round sunglasses that are a shade of purple. That would about do it for the attire, I think.
Anybody else with me on this? I hope so, ’cause I’m certain that after reading this the Mrs. is going to find a reason to be out of town during the festival’s main weekend and I don’t want to do this alone. It would be as painful as that time years ago at another newspaper where I was managing editor. I told the staff they could have some fun for Halloween, which landed on a weekday, and come to work dressed up. Only one person showed up in costume. Care to guess who that was?

Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-2522; email rwhiting@indexjournal.com ,or follow him on Twitter at IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.