Flower To The People


The Lilac Lovefest is designed to demonstrate the strength of lilac season in Twin Ports, Duluth, and Superior. Photo courtesy of TwinPorts.com

Lilac Lovefest embraces the region’s colorful lilac season—the longest one in the world.

After months of being holed up in quarantine and social distancing, we can only hope for a brighter, more colorful future. Which is the exact mission of Lilac Lovefest: bringing people together for an impressive floral season.

“The Lilac Lovefest is a series of events taking place in May, June, and early July. Our mission is to prove that the Twin Ports, Duluth, and Superior have the longest lilac season in the world,” says Linda Nervick, Lilac Lovefest event organizer.

The events will take place throughout the Twin Ports, but for those who are still practicing social distancing or otherwise unable to make it out, there will be virtual events on Lilac Lovefest’s website, so everyone can partake in this first annual lilac lovin’ festival.

The Twin Ports region is known for its lilac season because of its climate, Nervick says. “Lilacs thrive in a cool, damp environment. Duluth and the Twin Ports have many micro-climates because of Lake Superior,” she says. “The weather can be 20 degrees different depending on where you are in the Twin Ports. This provides a perfect environment for lilacs to bloom in different micro-climates for an extended time frame, May through July.”

If you’re in the area and wondering where you can find some of the best lilacs Minnesota has to offer, you can check out Lilac Lovefest’s digital blooming map of lilac locations in the Twin Ports. This map will be updated as lilac tree locations are found, and it will feature photos of the actual locations where the lilac tree blooms have been found. Also, Nervick notes, there are plans for Lilac Lovefest to offer a printed map in the future.

The Lilac Lovefest will take place in the Twin Ports area throughout this summer. Photo by Danielle Thralow

“Lilac Lovefest will be hosting virtual events and instructional videos as well as outdoor events such as Lilac Yoga,” Nervick adds. “There are also three online contests in place for 2020. Lilac Lovefest is hosting a photo contest, a lilac woodcarving contest, and a kids’ coloring contest. These contests are open to everyone, anywhere.”

Throughout June, the Outdoor Painters of Minnesota will be painting the lilacs of the Glensheen Mansion at various times, depending on weather conditions. So for Duluth natives and summertime visitors alike, there will always be (another) reason to stop by the historic mansion. For upcoming paintings, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter will be updated regularly with alerts.

Perhaps the best part of Lilac Lovefest is its ability to get people outdoors—especially during COVID-19 lock downs and social distancing.

“Lilac Lovefest encourages people to get out and enjoy the lilacs in their neighborhoods and backyards,” Nervick says. “The digital map offers locations to visit in Duluth and the Twin Ports, or have some fun and enter a contest, check the website for happenings, and participate in yoga at home or with us at Enger Tower on May 30, or Park Point, South Pier of Aerial Lift Bridge on June 27.”

While we’d all like to imagine a summer where we can finally get out and enjoy the nice weather, the coronavirus pandemic is looming, and there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding when we will be able to resume our favorite summertime activities. But Nervick says they’re not letting COVID-19 get in the way of Lilac Lovefest.

“Virtual events will take place at various times as the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are being respected,” she says. “Announcements will be made on the website and social media outlets if there are any changes. You can like the Lilac Lovefest Facebook page to receive regular updates.”

More information about the various events can be found on lilaclovefest.com. And a list of lilac fun facts is available at lilaclovefest.com/fun-facts. Like, did you know that lilacs come in seven colors? Or that “lilac” comes from the Finnish word “lilaq,” which means “flower?” Or that some shrubs are more than 100 years old? The list goes on and on, so you’ll want to be sure to study up before indulging in the longest lilac season in the world.

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