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Praying for blossoms, Dogwood Fest opens May 2

Published 5:01 pm, Thursday, April 24, 2014

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  • Organizers of the annual Dogwood Festival are keeping their fingers crossed for blossoms next weekend -- as seen here a year ago --- at the Greenfield Hill Congregation Church. The 79th annual event is planned Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4, and will offer an array of vendor booths, food, music --- and of course white and pink dogwood blossoms. Photo: Meg Barone / Fairfield Citizen contributed
    Organizers of the annual Dogwood Festival are keeping their fingers crossed for blossoms next weekend -- as seen here a year ago --- at the Greenfield Hill Congregation Church. The 79th annual event is planned Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4, and will offer an array of vendor booths, food, music --- and of course white and pink dogwood blossoms. Photo: Meg Barone

 

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DOGWOOD FEST
Where: Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, 1045 Old Academy Road.
When: Friday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, May 4, noon to 5 p.m.
What's going on: Crafts fair with 50 vendors, art show, antiques and clothing boutiques, live music, food, children's games and activities.
Admission: Free.
Parking: Very limited near the festival. Free shuttle bus during festival hours Saturday and Sunday from Dwight Elementary School, 1600 Redding Road, and from Fairfield Country Day School, 2970 Bronson Road.
Info: www.greenfieldhillchurch.com for more information.
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Last year, the Dogwood Festival at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church was moved a week earlier to be sure that the blossoms wouldn't be past their prime, as had happened in previous years.

And last year, the blooms cooperated, finally opening just in time for the festival.

This year, festival organizers likely are keeping their fingers crossed warm sunny days over the next week. After a long, cold winter, the dogwood bugs may be hard pressed to bloom by Friday morning, May 2, when the 79th annual celebration of the white and pink blossoms begins.

The festival runs through Sunday afternoon, May 4, offering a wide array of crafters and vendors, food, music, an arts show, children's activities and games -- and of course, organizers hope, dogwood petals by the tens of thousands..

"It's a lot like farming, you have to depend on the weather," said Tom Wambach, Dogwood Festival Committee Chair. "It's hard to know."

But he does think that buds now forming on the dogwood trees might just open in time. The Mother's Day weekend -- the festival's traditional time -- conflicted with other events, and in the early days of the festival it was held on different weekends every year, anyway, he said.

But, even without the flowering trees, there is plenty to see and do at the festival from music programs to fun runs, to art shows and, of course numerous booths selling crafts and antiques.

"The main thing is the hilltop is beautiful weather the blossoms are out or not. It's just a beautiful place," Wambach said of the church grounds where the festival is held. "I wouldn't want the severe weather to keep anyone from coming."

The number of crafters exhibiting at the Dogwood Festival has expanded to 50 from 34 last year, he said, and there is a food artisans' market selling olive oil, maple syrup, cheeses and more. And honey will be the highlight of Friday's luncheon, featuring C. Marina Marchese, a beekeeper from Weston who is a honey sommelier. The luncheon will include a honey tasting.

Another plus this year -- and for the past two years, is a free shuttle bus that takes festival goers from Dwight School and Fairfield Country Day School right to the front door of the church. "It solves our parking problem," said Wambach, who has been chairman of the festival committee for three years.

The festival has become a popular event not only for Fairfielders, but for people throughout the region. Started in 1936 by the church's Ladies Sewing Society; it became even more famous after a visit by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1938.

Today, the festival benefits numerous local charities, and is run by volunteers from in and outside the church.

"The best thing about the dogwood festival is the people: the congregation, friends of the church, all our volunteers, and the visitors -- people who come back every year simply because they like to be there," Wambuch said. "It's got a good vibe."

DOGWOOD FEST

Where: Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, 1045 Old Academy Road.

When: Friday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, May 4, noon to 5 p.m.

What's going on: Crafts fair with 50 vendors, art show, antiques and clothing boutiques, live music, food, children's games and activities.

Admission: Free.

Parking: Very limited near the festival. Free shuttle bus during festival hours Saturday and Sunday from Dwight Elementary School, 1600 Redding Road, and from Fairfield Country Day School, 2970 Bronson Road.

Info: www.greenfieldhillchurch.com for more information.