Food and Flowers: Swan Island Hosting Classes, Farmers Market

Swan Island‘s 40 acres of gorgeous blooms are now open to the public — but seeing one of the most jaw-dropping sights in the Pacific Northwest isn’t the only reason to visit the family-owned farm in north Canby this summer.

That’s because the Swan Island Dahlias events calendar is packed throughout August and September, with a rotating variety of food carts, weekly farmers market, live music and a series of fun and educational classes.

All of it will take place outdoors against the backdrop of those world-famous dahlia fields — a sea of color and inspiration for artists, crafters, music lovers and eaters of all variety and skill levels.

“It’s all right here in this gorgeous place,” said Heather Schloe, daughter of Swan Island Dahlias owner Nicholas Gitts Jr. “What more could you need to help you get creative?”

Flower Arranging and Care Classes

If anyone would know a few good flower arranging tips, it’s probably someone who literally grew up on the world’s largest dahlia farm. Schloe has traditionally hosted a flower arranging class at the Dahlia Festival each year.

In 2021, she’ll be doing a series of classes throughout August and September.

“I’ve always been asked to do this class outside the festival, so anyone in the public can come to it,” Schloe explained. “And, well, Covid has created this world where we’re all thinking outside the box, and this is part of that.”

Nick Gitts will join in sharing his expertise on the proper care of dahlias. Register today at

Flower Arranging Class with Heather

Aug. 19 and 21, Sept. 9, 12, 17 and 19

Dahlia Care Lecture with Nicholas and Heather

Aug. 14 and 29, Sept. 5

Art Classes

If your thumb is green because of a painting mishap rather than any horticultural aptitude, then Swan Island’s summer art class series may be more your speed. The farm has partnered with A Branch & Cord, Board & Brush and new Canby gallery and makerspace Art-O-Maddic to present a series of fun workshops for any artist.

Mandala Painting with Melissa Johnston (Art-O-Maddic)

Saturday, Aug. 7: Enjoy a fun afternoon class among the dahlias with Melissa Johnston as she shares with you how to create one-of-a-kind mandalas by using dots! You will be creating on a 6×6 canvas. Class is appropriate for ages 10 & up and all skill levels. Please dress appropriately as the paint can stain clothing.

A Branch & Cord Fiber Rainbows

Aug. 7, Sept. 5 and 18: In this beginner workshop, explore color, play with fiber and create your very own unique rainbow wall hanging—all while having a ton of fun surrounded by gorgeous dahlias! You will be introduced to a fun hand-wrapping and shaping rainbow workshop where you can create your own macramé rainbow.

Board & Brush at Swan Island Dahlias

Aug. 15 and 22, Sept. 18 and 19: Board & Brush Portland will be onsite to assist with projects you may purchase at our farm or take home to complete. No reservation is needed. The Projects will be available during the events. Come out and visit our farm and do a project with acres of stunning dahlias as your backdrop and inspiration!

Painting with Anna Tooze (Art-O-Maddic)

Saturday, Aug. 26: Enjoy a beautiful morning class among the dahlias with Anna Tooze as she instructs you on a beautiful purple dahlia canvas painting. You will be creating a 16″x20″ canvas. Class is appropriate for ages 13 & up and all skill levels.

Food Carts

Swan Island may not be known as a foodie’s paradise (yet), but their dining room is hard to beat. The dahlia farm will be hosting a rotating menu of at least one food cart Thursday through Sunday until October.

Vendors will include Chop Chop Chicken Sundaes, Crêperie Le Bon Temps, Corndog Convoy, Wrap Around Town and many more, usually with the Pint-Sized Pubhouse in tow, to serve up mimosas and other 21-and-older refreshments.

Swan Island Farmers Market

Come check out the brand-new Swan Island Farmers Market, a spin-off of the Saturday market in downtown Canby hosted by Urban Cowgirl Markets, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday.

The market features more than 30 vendors offering locally grown produce and food, crafts, art, soap, lotions, essential oils, clothing and more.

Live Music

Finally, Swan Island Dahlias will be hosting free music concerts throughout the summer, from noon to 4 p.m. on various days. Here’s the schedule so far.

Sunday, Aug. 22: Anna Gilbert

Saturday, Aug. 28: Joni Harms

Saturday, Sept. 4: Samsel

Sunday, Sept. 5: Fox & Bones

Monday, Sept. 6: Nate Bosford

Saturday, Sept. 11: Britnee Kellog

Swan Island Dahlias’ fields, gift shop and flower stand are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. six days a week (closed Wednesdays). Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit

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