The Story of the Jonquil
Jubilee Festival (1999-
In the spring of 1998, some friends sat drinking coffee. One
said, “My daffodils were beautiful this spring. Wouldn’t it be
wonderful if we could have a festival, say a ‘Jonquil Jubilee’?”
All agreed that would be fun. So they did it.
The first Jonquil Jubilee was held on February 27, 1999, about a
year later than the conversation. There was much talk and
conferring between the 1998 conversation and the 1999 Jubilee.
Publicity was foremost; committees were formed; goals were
established and much thinking and planning was done.
The festival goals were: (1) to create interest in Gibsland and
Bienville Parish; (2) to stimulate clean-up, rejuvenation, and
beautification of Gibsland and Bienville Parish; (3) to raise
funds for Gibsland Revival 2000, Inc. and enhance downtown
Gibsland; (4) to promote unity and cohesion among citizens; (5)
to promote Bienville Parish as the Daffodil Capital of
Louisiana. Net proceeds from sales and activities go to Gibsland
Revival 2000, Inc., a non-profit organization.
A sense of community has been stressed in planning for each
festival since its conception. Involvement of all citizens in
every walk of life has been encouraged and received. All civic
organizations and churches have joined to make Jonquil Jubilee a
success. And, it has been successful since the beginning.
There have been changes. Beautiful posters are designed each
year. Events and programs that didn’t work have been eliminated.
Many new programs have been added. Different forms of
entertainment have been tried. Those that were popular have been
kept, and those that created little interest, abandoned.
The first festival had outstanding speakers, but the programs
were not as well attended as planned. Possibly this was because
of the timing of the tours. The planning committee is
considering reviving speaking groups since tours have become
more organized. A flower arrangement activity has been
established. Small vases of flowers are carried to shut-ins.
Programs for children have always been included, with more
planned in the future. The first t-shirt was designed by a
student from Gibsland-Coleman High School.
The outstanding visible sign of achievement is the blooming of
thousands and thousands of daffodils, beginning in late January
and continuing through March every year. The earliest blooms are
to be seen from Interstate 20 all the way into the town of
Gibsland, literally thousands of blooms.
Each year, thousands of bulbs are planted in downtown Gibsland,
in personal yards, and along ditch banks on private and public
roads in the Gibsland - Mt.Lebanon – Oak Grove area, the area
which comprises the driving tours. Cost of the bulbs and labor
for planting is paid by Jonquil Jubilee. Homeowners have
invested in improving their property by planting hundreds of
bulbs. Finding the variety that does best in our climate is
always a fun challenge.
To state that Gibsland and surrounding areas are proud of their
daffodils understates the thrill which the community feels each
late winter with the blooming of the bulbs. On every corner, and
in every gathering, there is always the talk of the daffodils
“Are yours coming up yet? Do you think the weather is hurting
the blooms? How many did you plant? Did your Ice Follies (etc.)
come up again?” Everyone is happy; everyone is concerned;
everyone delights in the beauty that is ours in GIBSLAND.
DAFFODIL CAPITAL OF LOUISIANA.