Wildflower festival on track for 2013

Organizers of the third annual Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival, scheduled for the April 12-14 weekend, are seeking painters, photographers, potters, planters and other artists and craftspeople for vendor booths at Kerr McGee Center. Spaces not already claimed by previous participants are open for new participants.

Prices remain at $65 per booth plus a $25 deposit that is refunded if the booth is operated on both days and the space is left clean.

Meetings started months ago with plans to expand the multivenue spring celebration. The first year featured the Maturango Museum’s annual Wildflower Exhibit, lectures at the Historic USO Building, arts, crafts, performers, vendors, hand-on-activities, workshops, geocaching and wildflower tour guides.

In 2012, the second year, the Desert Empire Fairgrounds joined in with entertainment and additional vendors. This year the fairgrounds will replace its daytime offerings with an evening food-and-wine event.

“The festival was born in 2010,” said Doug Lueck, executive director of the Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Ridgecrest’s tourism community was looking for something unique to do to highlight the region. I mentioned this to Donna Rosenthal, a travel writer. Her late husband, David Rosenthal, had been an exceptional wildflower photographer. Drawing on her background and Dave’s passion for local wildflowers, she came up with the idea of a desert wildflower festival.”

Although many places hold spring wildflower festivals, Lueck said that focusing on desert wildflowers gives us an unusual edge, as well as a branding component.

“Even if people don’t drive up in April,” he explained, “they see the festival guide on a brochure rack on 395 or read something in an out-of-town newspaper and a mental image forms so that when they hear ‘Ridgecrest,’ they think of desert wildflowers.”

Reflecting on the festival’s track record, Lueck said, “We have plenty of indications that it’s brought families from two and three hours away. We show them a good time and we generate a greater public awareness of the natural scenic beauty of our surroundings.”

For further information, visit the festival website at www.ridgecrestdesertwildflowerfestival.com.

For questions, contact the RACVB at 760-375-8202 or racvb@filmdeserts.com.

Story First Published: 2013-02-20