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Nantucket Daffodil Festival Guide: Tips for First-timers and Checklist
February 07, 2023
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Daffodils signify the awakening of the beaten and harsh winter landscape. They usually appear at the end of the winter season as we welcome the shining sun that comes with the spring season.

For people visiting Nantucket, the Daffodil Festival marks the start of spring. Straw hats and yellow cashmere sweaters are usually in high demand in downtown Nantucket shops during this season. The festival is also characterized by the antique car parade and celebratory picnic featuring cured meats, artisanal cheeses, and plenty of wine.

The 47th Daffodil Festival will take place from the 27th to the 30th of April, with events focused on celebrating springtime on the island. As you plan your trip, take note of the following suggestions to have a spectacular weekend in Nantucket.

Wear a Yellow Outfit and Pair it with a Fun Hat

One of the ways to fully embrace the Daffodil Festival is to spice up your wardrobe. Expect everyone at the event to don cheerful yellow outfits when celebrating springtime.

Now is the time to start buying yellow outfits. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different textures and color patterns when getting your attire for the festival.

In addition to donning outrageous amounts of yellow, make a fun hat. You’ll need the hat on the day of the tailgate and parade. Pair the daffodil-inspired hat with silk flowers for a more creative touch.

Take Part in the Antique Car Parade

Several years after the launch of the Daffodil Festival, a classic car parade was organized as part of the springtime celebration. The first Antique Car Parade hosted up to 19 cars. Over the years, the event has helped showcase hundreds of vintage cars and motorcycles.

Get a glimpse of the highly decorated vintage vehicles at this year’s Antique Car Parade while staying at a Nantucket rental. The vehicles queue up on Main Street and later parade out to Sconset for the famous Tailgate Picnic.

Most vintage vehicles showcased at the event come to the island via ferry. To witness the action-packed car parade, make your way to Main Street by 9:00 AM. The earlier you get there, the more time you’ll have to see how much effort and time the car owners put into making their vehicles stand out from the rest.

Set up a Tailgate Picnic in Main Street Sconset

The Main Street in Sconset usually transforms into a huge picnic venue at the peak of the Daffodil Festival. It sees dozens of vehicles lining up by the roadside, with people spending the afternoon drinking, eating, and socializing.

Discover a new meaning of picnicking at Sconset’s annual Tailgate Picnic. Think champagne served in elegant crystal flutes and raw bar towers. Those who didn’t drive an antique automobile in the parade can put up their own picnic table or spread out a blanket on the left side of the roadway.

Go Window Shopping

The Nantucket Daffodil Festival brings a lot of revenue to businesses operating on the island. At this time of the year, most local businesses compete against each other for the best decorations in their shops. Expect to see floral arrangements, among other decorations, on the windows of local stores.

If you have time to spare, you may want to take a trip to downtown Nantucket and see what the shops offer. The cobblestone streets of downtown Nantucket feature charming classic shops and fashion-forward boutiques that easily attract potential buyers.

The shops you should check out on the island include Murray’s Toggery Shop, Res Ipsa, and Mitchell’s Book Corner. Murray’s Toggery Shop is a one-stop shop for outfits and home goods, while Res Ipsa sells handbags, backpacks, and kilim shoes made from vintage fabrics. Check out the book selection at Mitchell’s Book Corner if you fancy reading.

Visit the Sankaty Head Lighthouse

The Sankaty Head Lighthouse

The Sankaty Head Lighthouse is a renowned landmark on Nantucket Island. It is also among the most frequently visited areas on the island when the Daffodil Festival takes place. Hundreds of daffodils surround the Sankaty Head Lighthouse area in spring, making the area attractive for taking pictures.

You can access the lighthouse on a rental bike via Milestone Road, heading towards Sconset. While cycling along the road, you’ll witness spectacularly scattered daffodils. The lighthouse is 1.6 miles (2.5 km) from the Sconset village center.

Run a 5K Race

If you are looking to take part in an athletic activity during the Nantucket Daffodil Festival, there’s a 5K race on Sunday. The 5K race is a great way to stay fit while enjoying the daffodil festival on the island.

Like other races, the 5K race requires you to wear appropriate racing gear. Remember to carry water to keep you hydrated.

Other Insider Tips to Note

Your experience at the Nantucket Daffodil Festival will largely depend on your level of preparedness. So, here are other insider tips to note when planning to take part in the weekend event:

  • Arrive at the festival on Saturday if you are pressed for time. Most fun events take place on Saturdays. Book an early high-speed ferry before it is sold out to avoid the last-minute rush.
  • Dress in layers since the island gets chilly in the spring. Mind the weather forecast.
  • If you are into photography, take a photo with friends or family at Brant Point Lighthouse in your bold yellow outfit. Also, find picture-perfect spots on the side streets off Upper Main Street and Main Street.
  • Check the Daffodil Festival social media pages for hashtags to use if you plan to post pictures or videos online.
  • Make early dinner reservations to beat the crowds since the Daffodil Festival weekend is usually busy. The wait times in most restaurants are quite long during the weekend, even if they accept walk-ins.

Summing up

The Nantucket Daffodil Festival is a weekend event you would want to attend when visiting Nantucket this spring. It offers visitors the perfect opportunity to explore what local businesses have to offer. As you plan your trip to the island, use the tips discussed in this guide as a point of reference.