The month of May brings bright, sunny days, and warm spring breezes. All kinds of flowers are bursting into full, fragrant bloom everywhere you look (and sniff). This includes our beloved lilacs. And perhaps best of all, there are many fun filled Lilac festivals all over the United States and Canada. You can find a few festivals in other countries, too. These festivals are among the first outdoor festivals of the year. They herald the beginning of the spring, and a new outdoor gardening season.
With the arrival of the lilacs and pleasant weather, these festivals experience huge crowds. The timing of the festivals is always problematic. Festival organizers strive to set the date s when the lilacs are in bloom. The weather doesn’t always cooperate. Cooler springs delay the blooming period. Hotter than normal weather can bring the blossoms out earlier than anticipated, and for a shorter period of time. If you travel to a festival, find out when it is being held, and go during the middle of the event. Try to find out how the lilacs are doing- is an early, on-time or late bloom expected?
The Rochester, N.Y. lilac festival is the biggest and best of them all. It has one of the largest displays of lilacs, boasting 500 varieties and 1,200 bushes over 22 acres in Highland Park. The annual Lilac Festival lasts for two weeks and includes a wide range of events, exhibits, Lilac10K races, craft displays, bands and concerts, and much more. The American Bus Association lists it among its “Top 100 Events”, as bus tours from all over the U.S. and Canada bring tourists there.
Enjoy the beautiful lilacs while they are in bloom! Here are links to lilac festival locations and information. We continue to update this information, as it becomes available.
Tip: Festival goers to the larger events, come from all over the country. They often come in busloads. Make arrangements for your overnight stay well in advance. The popularity of these festivals causes area hotels to fill up quickly.
Rochester Lilac Festival in New York is the granddaddy of all lilac festivals. The annual Lilac Festival is held at Highland Park, in Rochester, NY. They proudly display the largest collection of both varieties and total bushes in the world. In addition to the lilacs, activities include a parade, 5K and 10k races, live concerts, wine and cheese tasting, plenty of food and craft booths, a craft beer garden, and much more. The arts and craft booths are sure to sell lilac perfume, sachets, and even lilac edibles….yes, lilacs are edible. Festival organizers have changed the schedule for 2022. The festival will now be held over three weekends in May. They are May 6-8, 2022; May 12-15, 2022 and May 19-22, 2022. Festival hours are from 10:30a.m to 8:30p.m. Make plans to be there today!
Pine Mountain, Ca. Lilac Festival – TBD
Lilac Park, Lombard, IL – May 1 – 15, 2022. Known as “Lilac Village”, the park has been in existence since the 1920s. It boasts over 700 cultivars. Features include a parade, Lilac Ball, and many more events.
Barryton, MI. Lilac Festival – first weekend in June
Mackinac Island Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island, MI – held June 3-12, 2022
Taos, New Mexico Lilac Festival – TBD
Spokane, Washington Lilac Festival Gala – May 16-21, 2022
4th Street Lilac Festival -Calgary, B.C., Canada – June 5, 2022
International Lilac Festivals
Sapporo Japan Lilac Festival – Mid to Late May 2022, Specific dates TBD.
Goulburn, Australia – October every year. Note: They are in the southern hemisphere where it is Spring in October.
Some festivals are often quite late each year in announcing the dates. They attempt to time their festival to occur when the lilacs are in bloom. This is not an easy thing to do. Some seasons, the flowers bloom sooner rather than later. Larger festivals, like the Rochester, NY Lilac Festival, have such an extensive list of activities and events, that they need to set the dates well in advance. We will do our best to update this page, as information becomes available.
How to Grow – Learn how to grow beautiful, fragrant plants.
Lilac Festival – These Spring festivals are very popular.
Lilac Sunday – Without a doubt, it’s a holiday worth celebrating.
Flowers – About these beautiful blooms.
Lilac Pictures – See our lilac photo gallery.
Lilac Trivia – Cute and informant trivia.
Planting and Transplanting – how and when to move bushes.
Propagation – How to make new plants.
Pruning Lilacs – Most importantly, there’s a right way and a wrong way.
Pests and Disease – Prevent plant problems.
Varieties – In fact, there are over 1000 varieties.
California Lilac – It’s a tree.
Why no Blooms? – Identify and correct blooming problems.
Lilac Poem – By Walt Whitman.
Buy Lilac Bushes – Most importantly, add beauty to your yard.