Lompoc to celebrate summer and friends
Summer is the time for festivals and fairs — Summer Solstice Celebration, the county Fair, Fiesta — and this week, the Lompoc Flower Festival.
From Wednesday to Sunday, Lompoc will hold its 67th annual festival honoring its roots as the one-time flower seed capital of the world.
Taking place at Ryon Park, the Flower Festival’s theme this year is “Summertime Fun and Friends.”
In addition to a parade on Saturday filled with floral floats, the festival features entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, commercial sellers and a wide array of food booths run by local nonprofit organizations and commercial eateries. A week-long carnival, run by Paul Maurer Rides, also will be at the park.
The first day of the festival Wednesday is typically considered “locals day,” with the park opening at 11 a.m. and the carnival starting up rides at 2 p.m. Park admission is free on Wednesday.
The festival continues from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Arts and crafts and commercial vendors will be at the park all five days, as will food booths. Admission to Ryon Park, at the corner of West Ocean Avenue and O Street, is $5 for 13 and older. A four-day admission pass is $15.
Flower Festival Queen Emily Rich and her court of princesses will kick off opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the main stage at Ryon Park.
Miss Rich also will ride in Saturday’s parade with her court, which includes Nicole Miyamoto, Tess McIntyre, Isabella Nipper, Kailey McNamee, Hannah Kiblinger, Carmen Villalpando, Naomi Ledesma, Dezarae Hardemann and Brooklynn Gregory.
Saturday’s main event is the floral parade, which begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of North H Street and East College Avenue. The procession heads south on H Street to Ocean Avenue, where it turns west until reaching Ryon Park.
Bands, floats, politicians, equestrian units, youth groups, drill teams, drum squads and local youth teams will entertain the crowd. Floats in the parade are designed and assembled by local organizations and businesses, and must be constructed of flowers and natural materials, most of which have been grown in the Lompoc Valley.
The grand marshal this year is small-business owner Robin Dunaetz, co-owner of the popular Surf Connection store. In business since the mid-1980s, Ms. Dunaetz has long been a proponent of small businesses in Lompoc, and in 2012 started the town’s first “Cash Mob” as a way for people to learn more about — and support — local businesses.
“Being chosen to be Grand Marshal for the Lompoc Flower Festival parade, our beloved community event, is a very special honor,” she said.
Parade awards will be handed out around 1 p.m. Saturday at Ryon Park.
Free entertainment will be on the main stage every day, including musical genres of rock, soul and funk, reggae, soul and Latin and metal.
Featured entertainment will be held from 8 to 10 p.m. each day. On Wednesday, rock ‘n’ roll band Toxic Red will take the stage. On Thursday, rock band the Fossils will perform and on Friday, the Molly Ringwald Band will play ’80s music. Saturday a “Heart” tribute band, Dog and Butterfly, will be on stage. Sunday’s final performance will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and features Latin Ladies, a tribute band of stars such as Shakira, Selena and Gloria Estefan.
For those wanting to see the valley’s flower fields in bloom, a map is available atlompoc.com under “Visitor Information.” The map includes information about the town’s flower history, varieties, field etiquette and more.
Lompoc, dubbed “Valley of the Flowers,” has largely transitioned from robust fields of stock, sweet peas and marigolds to agriculture that includes artichokes, cabbage and other vegetables. Some flower fields are currently in bloom, however, west of downtown.