DOLGEVILLE — In the 1950s, Lyndon Lyon created the first-ever double-pink African violet, setting the stage for his greenhouse in Dolgeville to ship the flowers worldwide, and making him and his flowers a household staple.
“To this day, they’re still here in town, passed down through generations and they still create new violets every year,” said Crystal Napier, president of the Violet Festival Committee. “They have new breeds of violets.”
In 1999, the community formed the Violet Festival to honor and celebrate Lyon, who had died in May of that year.
The village still holds an annual festival the second weekend in June to commemorate Lyons legacy. Although the festival should be in its 24th year, Napier, who has been on the committee for a decade, said they took a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over three days, the community holds various activities for people to enjoy. The festival kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday with village-wide garage sales and fully gets underway later that day when the opening ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Gazebo in Plowe Park. During the opening ceremony, the Lyndon Lyon Community Award is presented and the house decorating contest winners are announced.
Festival pageants follow, which crown princesses and little misters for various age groups, then the first night concludes with music.
Napier said the biggest events are the garage sales, craft fair and opening ceremonies on Friday, as well as the parade on Saturday.
“For me, personally, I’m very much involved with our parade,” she said.
People will also be able to enjoy a flower show at The Graystone, tie-dying T-shirts, a 5k run/walk Sunday morning, pancake breakfasts, poetry contest, horse-drawn wagon rides and much more.
Napier said Lyndon Lyon Greenhouse will be open all weekend for people who want to purchase violets.
She said last year they had a good turnout. According to the festival website, typically 10,000 people come to the festival. Napier also said they are tracking the air quality, due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires, to see what impact it may have on the weekend’s events.
“It’s a play-it-by-ear kind of thing,” she said.
Napier said the committee is always looking for people to join. Find more information on the event by visiting dolgevillevioletfestival.com.