The 62nd Annual Lompoc Valley Flower Festival runs through Sunday and includes a parade on Saturday morning.
The festival’s theme this year is “Vines, Wines and Good Times.”
“Everything’s coming together,” said Annette Barajas, Flower Festival Association office manager.
The weather forecast calls for breezy conditions and highs near 70 degrees through the weekend.
“I think it’s going to be a great turnout,” she added.
The festival grew out of Lompoc’s world-famous flower fields.
While the number of fields has dropped off in the past couple of decades, colorful arrays still dot the landscape around Lompoc.
The Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce publishes a “flower field alert” identifying the location of blooming flower fields each year while noting the peak typically occurs in mid- to late June.
“Due to economic factors, fewer flower fields are planted now than in the past,” chamber officials noted. “You will find more vegetable fields, since vegetables can be grown year 'round. Some of the vegetables you will see are: celery, lettuce, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and artichokes.”
Although some Flower Festival attractions open earlier in the day, the festival will officially kick off with a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The first runner-up was Katherine Leedham, followed by second runner-up Amanda Mosby. Brittany Annika Bolusan was named Miss Congeniality.
Butler Amusements is the festival carnival operator, with rides opening at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, at noon Thursday and Friday, at 10 a.m. Saturday and at 11 a.m. Sunday. One-day unlimited ride wristbands are $30 at the carnival, or ride coupons will also be available for purchase at the event. Prices are 80 coupons for $70, 25 coupons for $23 and single coupon for $1.
Also available all five days will be food booths, many of which are operated by local nonprofit organizations and open at 11 a.m. daily, the commercial center and assorted entertainment.
Bands scheduled to perform include The Fossils, a classic rock ’n’ roll band; Neon Circus, a Brooks and Dunn tribute band; The Molly Ringwald Project, a classic ’80s band, and Don’t Stop Believing, a Journey tribute band.
Other attractions include an arts and craft show Friday, Saturday and Sunday and a flower show Saturday and Sunday.
The flower specimen show at the park is new for 2014, and taking place after the Alpha Literary and Improvement Club decided to cancel its off-site show that took place for nine decades. The club instead held a garden tour and tea in May.
Wine tasting at the park will occur from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday. The $40 cost includes tasting, festival admission and parking.
“We have several of the vintners coming from Wine Ghetto and throughout Santa Barbara County,” Barajas said.
Admission to the festival is free Wednesday for Community Appreciation Day. For the remaining four days, admission is $3, with children age 12 or younger admitted for free.
Parking is available on site for a nominal fee.
The Flower Festival Parade begins promptly at 10 a.m. Saturday, departing from the corner of North H Street and East College Avenue, then will proceed down H Street and Ocean Avenue, past thousands of spectators. Entries include bands, floats, equestrian units, drill teams and clowns.
Steve Clifton, vintner from Lompoc-based Palmina and Brewer-Clifton wineries, will ride in a place of honor as the parade’s grand marshal.
All floats (designed and built by local organizations) must use flowers or natural materials, most of which have been grown in the Lompoc Valley.
For more information, call the Lompoc Valley Flower Festival Association. A detailed entertainment schedule, parade lineup and more can be found by clicking here.