New England is famous for spring flower festivals, and with more than 650,000 sunny daffodils in bloom, the annual Meriden Daffodil Festival can certainly be called one of the most colorful of these spring events. The festival in Meriden, Connecticut, celebrates its 40th year in 2018, and in addition to fragrant fields of yellow and white daffodils in 61 varieties, you'll also enjoy non-stop live music, arts and crafts, food vendors, fireworks, carnival rides and entertainment for children.
Here's everything you need to know to enjoy this annual rite of spring that celebrates one of the first flowers to burst into bloom each year.
Meriden Daffodil Festival Basics
Daffodil Festival Dates: Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, 2018
Times: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: Admission and parking are both free.
Pre-Festival Weekend Fun in Meriden
On April 21 and 22, 2018—the weekend before the Meriden Daffodil Festival—there's a good chance there'll be plenty of daffodils to see in Hubbard Park. And that's not all. The 1,800-acre park plays host to Connecticut's Largest Tag Sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. each day. It's held under a tent, rain or shine. Spaces are $30, and proceeds benefit the Daffodil Festival. There are also amusement rides for the kids and the young at heart and gourmet food trucks on-site, and the 19th annual Meriden Rotary 5K Road Race takes place, too, on Sunday, April 22.
What To See and Do During the Meriden Daffodil Festival
Highlights of the festivities during the weekend of the festival include a parade at 11:30 a.m. and fireworks at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and continuous musical entertainment on three stages both days. The 2018 line-up of artists and bands scheduled to perform includes blues guitarist Ana Popovic and local favorites like River City Slim and the Zydeco Hogs, the Hartford Steel Symphony and Podunk Throwbacks.
For kids, there's stage entertainment at Theater of the Trees and much more. And a juried craft fair runs both days of the festival.
Visit the Meriden Daffodil Festival Web site for the complete 2018 schedule of events.
Directions to the Meriden Daffodil Festival and Where to Stay
Getting There: Follow Route 91 North or South to Route 691 West to exit 7, then bear left onto State Street. GPS users should use 298 State Street, Meriden, CT, as their destination.
Parking: As you exit onto State Street, watch for signs directing you to shuttle bus parking for the festival. Parking is located at Platt High School (220 Coe Avenue), Lincoln Middle School (164 Centennial Avenue), HC Wilcox Tech (298 Oregon Road) and at Meriden Enterprise Center (290 Pratt Street), as well as at the Westfield Shopping Mall (470 Lewis Avenue at the Boscov's/Sears deck). Shuttle buses will transport visitors to and from Hubbard Park from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday (and will return visitors to their cars after the fireworks) and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Individuals with valid handicapped parking stickers may park in the designated handicapped parking lot at Westfield Meriden (470 Lewis Avenue) and will be transported to the park via handicap-access vans.
Lodging: If you are traveling to the Daffodil Festival, you will find that Meriden is home to a large variety of chain hotels that are convenient to Hubbard Park including a Comfort Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express & Suites and the very budget-friendly Red Roof Inn. Unfortunately, the city lacks more charming B&B properties.
For Additional Information about the Meriden Daffodil Festival: Call the festival hotline at 203-238-1315 (April 1 through May 1).
While You Are in Meriden
Making a weekend of attending the Daffodil Festival? You'll want to add these Meriden musts to your itinerary:
- Make the 3-mile hike or drive up a steep road to Castle Craig. You'll have views of the city and surrounding towns in the Quinnipiac River Valley from this high point in the Hanging Hills. If the stone tower's stairs are open and skies are clear, you may be able to see as far south as Long Island Sound.
- Head to Ted's Restaurant for a legendary, juicy steamed cheeseburger. Steaming burgers is a Connecticut thing, and this family-owned restaurant has been luring beef lovers since 1959.