The 69th annual Lompoc Valley Flower Festival opens its doors once again May 6-8 after a hiatus due to the pandemic.
The carnival at Ryon Park opens at 10 a.m. and live music will play until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The festival will also feature a variety of food, arts and crafts, and other attractions.
Lompoc’s last flower festival was held in June 2019. Delays due to COVID-19 set back revenue from other events, so this year’s festival had to downsize.
“We do not have a parade this year, unfortunately, because of lack of revenue,” said Lompoc Flower Festival organizer Ben Contreras. “But we have had coordination of the city and also the carnival that we brought in and we must have everything, the live music, carnival and the City of Lompoc approval.”
Even given the prolonged break and modifications, turnout is expected to be in the thousands.
“If it's any indication by the festivals we've seen so far, we probably have 10,000 on Friday and 14,000 on Saturday. It's just going to be unbelievable,” Contreras said. “I mean, the Strawberry Festival had a lot of people. Every festival I've known so far this year has had great increase of numbers.”
While the festival usually takes place at the end of June and lasts for five days, this year it will be held earlier and for a shorter period of time.
“We have about 25 vendors and we have about 25 food booths around that, and it's just a little bit higher than that,” Contreras said. “I believe three years ago we had 35, so there's the fewer numbers.”
This year will honor healthcare workers with the theme “Our Essential Workers Rock.”
“We're going to, on the center stage, announce an awful lot of care workers, like at the Lompoc Hospital, the different nurses that we know working for the college, health care, Lompoc health care, so on and so forth, and recognize them,” Contreras said.
While much of the festivities will take place at Ryon Park, attendees can pick up maps of different flower fields in the area to scope out.
Tickets cost $5, children under 12 get in free and for Mother’s Day, moms get in free as well. Enjoying any of the carnival rides costs a separate fee.