2023 Nantucket Daffodil Festival Welcomes Spring
When the sun is shining and blooms are bursting in New England, it’s a sure sign the annual Nantucket Daffodil Festival is not far away. Flower Power lives on as more than 3 million narcissus planted on the Grey Lady come alive in shades of sunshine for this harbinger of spring.
The 4th weekend in April heralds the season opener for the island in 2023. I can’t think of another place I’d rather be to welcome the end of winter. Nantucket is found off the coast of Cape Cod, thirty miles out to sea. Rumor has it that Mother Nature is supposed to give New England the gift of beautiful skies in the days ahead, a perfect excuse to get Daffy and put on your yellow dancing shoes!
Editors Note: This post has been updated in January 2023 and has been completely updated and revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
The 411 on Nantucket’s Daffodil Festival Weekend
The Grey Lady is affectionally called so because of the fog that often settles in over the island. During this weekend, she celebrates the beginning of spring and says goodbye to what is often a dreary and quiet winter.
The island awakes year after year during one of the last weekends in April. Summer residents shake out the linens and open their houses. The hearty year round residents celebrate the joy of Mother Nature as she begins to paint her colorful island canvas.
Events take place all over the island with the majority downtown and at Children’s beach
The 47th annual event welcomes spring with specimens of the flower in shades of sunshine yellow, pale peach, creamy white and everything in between. Normally, the beach takes center stage on this summer vacation paradise. However, for these two days you’ll find it’s all about the daffodils.
Activities and Events Daffodil Festival 2023
The Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce has grown the weekend from a simple affair in the 1970’s focusing on an antique car parade, followed by a community tailgate picnic in ‘Sconset to an elaborate weekend filled with events.
Decades later, the 47th Annual Daffodil Festival on Nantucket will include art shows, tours, parades (including the antique car parade and tailgate picnic), exhibitions, contests, lectures, and, of course, the annual Nantucket Daffodil Flower Show.
There’s a window decorating contest, and a family picnic at Children’s Beach. As a matter of fact, the art of the picnic is brought to a new level for this occasion. Champagne flows, table settings are elaborate and floral centerpieces instagram worthy.
There are activities for all ages, and faithful festival-goers dress up for the occasion and participate with a level of enthusiasm you might not have witnessed before! The island is a canvas awash in a glow of sunshine painted with over three million daffodils.
Flower Power Party
Kicking off the Annual Daffodil Festival is the Flower Power Party on Friday night. The Whaling Museum is transformed into a gala of spring with music, specialty cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and of course a Best OF flower power outfit. Proceeds benefit the Nantucket Historical Association.
Antique Car Parade and Tailgate Party
Vintage cars with a mirrorlike shine and antique motorcycles parade through Main St. decorated to the nines. All are vying for your vote to be crowned #1. Some years the procession featured over eighty entries!
The parade continues down the long Milestone Rd. out to ‘Sconset for the post parade tail-gate picnic. Table settings and elaborate auto displays give new meaning to the phrase over the top. This is the ultimate in people watching.
Vanity plates all have special meaning to island residents. Others are self explanatory. The charming parade, featuring over 100 antique cars and trucks winds its way thru town and heads out to ‘Sconset for the daffodil bedazzled tailgate picnic.
The Pine Woods Morris Dancers
The Pine Woods Morris Dancers often perform throughout the day at various outdoor locations. The group reflects a form of English folk dance originating in the cotton mill towns of Northwest England. Clogs were originally the footwear of choice and the dance is accompanied by music.
Choreography includes rhythmic stepping while wearing bells and a white costume accented with green sashes and badges. Handkerchiefs are part of the energetic display that is a real crowd pleaser!
Visitors will thank the weather gods for blue skies and find a perfect excuse to get Daffy.
Daffy Dog Parade at the Daffodil Festival
Visitors will thank the weather gods for blue skies and find a perfect excuse to get Daffy, especially if attenting the Daffy Dog Parade. Canine fur babies can don a costume and take part in the parade to benefit the Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals.
Nantucket is amazingly dog friendly. As a matter of fact, those flying from Hyannis can bring their dog, and they take a seat with them in the back of the plane! Dogs are front and center, in all shapes and sizes during the big parade.
Garden Club Flower Show
Make sure not to miss the Daffodil Flower Show held at Bartlett Farm where you can see more varieties of the flower than you ever knew existed. Sponsored by the Nantucket Garden Club, the show is open on Saturday from 2-5pm and Sunday from 10am-4pm. This year’s theme is Island Treasures.
What to Pack for April in Nantucket
Warm clothes should be at the top of the list. Although you can check the weather, an island 30 miles out to sea can have VERY unpredictable weather. I’ve been there on the most gorgeous of spring days and pounding rain, all on the same weekend. Pack layers and a variety of clothes. Highly recommend gloves and a hat.
Cobblestones are much easier to walk on in sturdy shoes. That being said, of course you’ll want a fancy pants outfit for the opening night party or dinner reservations. And don’t forget to pack the YELLOW!
Travel Tips for Nantucket Island
The Nantucket Daffodil Festival is a really fun, family-oriented weekend held in one of my most favorite places in New England.
- If you are looking for some additional activities, try visiting one of historical museums on the island. You’d be remiss to leave Nantucket without a taste of the rich maritime history that surrounds every inch of the island. Once known as the whaling capital of the world, there’s much more to this piece of paradise than just a pretty beaches and daffodils!
- If you plan on going out to dinner, make sure to make reservations ahead of time-it’s a busy weekend! That goes for ferry reservations as well.
- Walk around the historic town and take in the widows walk on top of the well-preserved homes. There is some debate about the true use of the viewing platforms. In my mind’s eye, I like to try and imagine the many women who used the outdoor vantage points to watch for their husbands returning from sea after a stint on a whaling ship. Many did not make the journey, thus the terminology on this variation of the Italianate cupola.
Getting to the Island:
Leave the car off the island! You can either take a ferry or fly to Nantucket. Jet Blue, Cape Air, The Steamship Authority and The Hyline all have more information on their websites. If you are staying in town, there is an excellent bus system-The Wave– to get around (you can even load your bike on the front).
♥ Wait, there’s more to discover about Nantucket:
Meatless Monday–Fresh and Local on Nantucket
Pin Me ♥ Nantucket Daffodil Festival Welcomes Spring
Oh wow what a fun event, I just love daffodils! What great pics from the parade…and the dog costumes lol. They have yet to bloom here.
beautiful festival, celebrated with lovely flowers. A real treat to watch.
O.M.G. This is incredible, so much happy yellow daffodils, my favourite. I always figured late summer was the time for Nantucket, but I have changed my plans!
What a fun festival! I love that the whole community gets involved and embraces the signs of spring.
Omg! We were in Martha’s Vineyard and decided not to go to Nantucket. Anyway, it was May. But I would be gaga over this festival. Love flowers and the color yellow. Should make it a point to go last week of April!
Sorry you missed Nantucket Carol. Two very different islands, but lots to love about both of them.
What a fab event! I love daffodils so would be in heaven here. I’ve been meaning to go back to this part of the world for years – I worked for a summer on Cape Cod and did a couple of trips over to Nantucket so lots of good memories.
What a fabulous event! I’d love to go one year. It looks so much fun and I’d have to invest in a new yellow dress and probably a hat too!
This is al kinds of brilliant!! I love daffodils – number one. BUt combine them with vintage cars and dogs dressed as daffodils and man, you have me! I’m not sure I’ll ever get the chance to go, but this post has made me grin from ear to ear. Thanks!
Nantucket is a beautiful place but timing a visit with the daffodil festival truly raises the bar! What fantastic photos. I’ll have to remember this for next year~
The Nantucket Daffodil Festival has got to be North America’s most cheerful festival. Its been so gloomy in Toronto this spring, I’m desperate to see a bright daffodil or two!
Wow. Quite the event. I’ve never been to Nantucket, only Martha’s Vineyard; however, I’d imagine it is just as quaint. All that yellow! Beautiful!
The Nantucket Daffodil Festival looks delightful, and your lively images really bring it to life. I really like that man driving in a hat trimmed with the yellow blooms.
Isn’t he a character Carole. My first thought was curmudgeon, but it would be impossible to be a grouch in this parade!
Daffodils are my favorite flowers. I couldn’t get enough of looking at your photos and reading about the festival. What fun!!
Fun is the right word Marilyn. Spring is such a fickle season in New England, I love this festival for just that reason.(and many others)