For the first time in over decades, the Swan Island Dahlia Festival has been canceled.
The country’s largest Dahlia grower confirmed the news on its website and Facebook page Wednesday night, saying the decision stemmed from the governor’s guidance regarding large gatherings this summer. The festivals draws thousands to the farm on North Holly Street each year to see 40 acres of dahlias in brilliant bloom.
The two-weekend festival also features demonstrations, education, music and other entertainment, food and over 400 floral demonstrations on display.
“It is in the best interest of our staff and visitors that this decision be made to keep everyone safe and healthy,” Swan Island said.
Organizers noted that, though the festival cannot be held, it’s possible that restrictions might allow some visitors to see the fields later this summer. They recommend dahlia lovers to stay tuned to Swan Island’s Facebook page for the latest news as guidelines change.
“We stand together in these uncertain times, and ask that you support your local community in every possible way,” they said. “Since we aren’t able to have our dahlia family together to celebrate our annual festival, we ask that you continue to create and share your beautiful dahlia memories and photos all summer long to keep the joy alive.”
For those who do want to “keep the joy alive,” follow Swan Island on Facebook Instagram, and tag them in your gardening posts with the hashtags #sidahlialove, #swanislanddahlias and #2020dahliafestival.
Swan Island Dahlias began in Portland over 90 years ago, before being relocated to the Canby area in the 1940s. It was moved to it’s present location in 1953, and purchased by dairy farmers Nick and Margaret Gitts ten years later.
Their son, Nicholas Gitts Jr. owns and runs the farm today, along with his daughter, Heather Gitts-Schloe. Thanks to Swan Island, the dahlia has become one of the symbols of Canby.