Vive le LILAS !!!
31st Annual Pine Mountain Club Lilac Festival
Take a typical southern California spring weekend in May, add tall trees, snow-streaked mountain peaks, blue sky and pine-scented air, and you have the beginnings of a recipe for Family Fun.
Begun in 1982 as a way to forget winter and welcome the approaching summer, the Lilac Festival started as little more than a bake sale and a Maypole Dance, and has grown into a full-fledged Mountain tradition.
The Lilac was chosen as a centerpiece for the Festival because it thrives in our mountain climate, and its short flowering season falls roughly at the same time as the Festival. The powerful scent of lilacs is one of the few that outshines the always-present scent of sugar pine.
This year’s Festival is Saturday & Sunday, May 18th & 19th, and begins at 9 am each day, and ends at 5pm or so. The traditional Parade is at 11 am on Saturday. Over 100 Arts & Crafts booths will be open all day, along with international food vendors, restaurants and unique shops, live music throughout the Festival, and a kiddie amusement area. There are also lots of places to sit, relax, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Village and all of Pine Mountain Club. For a truly breathtaking view, helicopter rides will available, too.
A Little History…
The original event was spearheaded by Barry and Rosetta Burgelin, the owners of Pine Mountain Service Center in Pine Mountain Club. The original festivals also incorporated a small car show for locals and visitors to show off their “hot rods” and “classic” cars. Each and every festival, until this year has had a parade to kick things off. The parade was originally directed through the village center in Pine Mountain Club, but because of the size of the event growing it soon was held on Mil Potrero Hwy (the only main road that runs through Pine Mountain Club). The car show also grew in popularity so there is now a separate event held on the first Saturday of August each summer.
The most unique items at the festivals are all the handmade crafts, clothing, sundries, food and much more. Many of the vendors at the festivals are local mountain residents showing off their talents, kind of a local “tradition” now and a real friendly competition between neighbors.
Weather in May is usually the first signs of warming from our cold mountain winters and flora and fauna are abundant. This includes, of course, all the lilac bushes and trees that have been planted in Pine Mountain Club. Although the actual blooming lilacs that are so popular in our culture are not a native plant, they thrive in the climate up here. What few people know is that there is an actual native bush in the California Mountain areas. The ones that grow up here are called “White Bark California Lilac”. This shrub has blue flower shoots and very sticky, fragrant leaves. More about these lilacs can be found here:
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/ceanothus-leucodermis – there are many varieties of wild California Lilacs so don’t be surprised if you’ve seen others up here as well as these!
The festivals have grown in popularity so much over the years that vendors (as well as visitors) venture here from as far away as Nevada and Arizona each year. Thousands of people can be seen in and around Pine Mountain Club during a Lilac Festival weekend.