by Mayor Dale Ross
Georgetown celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Red Poppy Festival this year on April 26-28. I hope you will join me at this free, family-friendly festival for a weekend of fun with our friends, family, and neighbors on the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.
Pat Green is the headliner at the Saturday night concert and the Friday night concert features Dysfunkshun Junkshun. Other festival highlights include the Red Poppy Parade on Saturday at 10am and the Car Show at 11am. Concerts, parade, car show, kids’ fun zone, and street festival are all free.
The official 2019 Red Poppy Festival poster is on sale for $5 starting April 5 at the Visitors Center at 103 W. Seventh St.
A new sculpture commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Red Poppy Festival will be unveiled at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26 during the event. The new sculpture will be in front of the building at 101 E. Seventh St. For all the details about the festival, go to RedPoppyFestival.com.
Parking and shuttle service
Over the course of the festival, we expect more than 60,000 attendees. We love showing off Georgetown to the region, but with that many people, parking can be a challenge. We do ask that people avoid parking in the neighborhoods, blocking driveways, or parking in fire lanes. For the best experience, plan to carpool or use a ridesharing service to get to the festival. There also is a free shuttle from the First Baptist Church all day on Saturday.
The City is working to reduce waste generated by the event. Food vendors are using only compostable plates, dishes, drinking straws, napkins, and cutlery. Composting and recycling stations will be available throughout the festival area. We can all help to reach the zero waste goal by bringing reusable shopping bags and personal water containers to the event and using the recycling and composting stations at the festival.
Volunteers are needed at our eco-stations where recycling, composting, and landfill materials are collected. You will help direct festival goers to put items into the correct collection bin and you will learn about the positive effects of diverting waste for reuse and recycling. Don’t worry, no experience is needed and you’ll get a free Red Poppy Festival shirt! For more information and to sign up visit poppy.georgetown.org/volunteer.
Red Poppy Taste cooking competition
The Red Poppy Festival includes the annual Red Poppy Taste Awards, which is a cooking competition open to chefs, bakers, and cooks of all kinds, levels, and backgrounds. There are two categories: sweet and savory. Winners will be announced and presented their trophy on the Red Poppy Stage on Saturday evening, April 27. To see the rules and to enter, look for the Red Poppy Taste Awards page at RedPoppyFestival.com.
Red Poppy Ride & 5K
Two additional events are a part of the Red Poppy celebration in April. The Red Poppy Ride is a recreational bike ride on Saturday, April 13, with routes of 12, 30, 40, 62, and 100 miles. The ride starts at Richarte High School and ends at Rentsch Brewery. The Red Poppy 5K is on Sunday, April 14. The timed 5K walk/run starts in San Gabriel Park with a route along the San Gabriel River. Go to RedPoppyFestival.com to find out more and register for the Red Poppy Ride or the Red Poppy 5K.
Red Poppy flowers
The Red Poppy Festival is inspired by the red poppy flower, which has become an integral part of Georgetown history. During the First World War, a young soldier from Georgetown sent red poppy seeds home to his mother who planted them in her yard on Seventh Street. They began to grow wild and then spread all over the town. To recognize the history of red poppies in Georgetown, the Texas Legislature certified Georgetown as the Red Poppy Capital of Texas in 1990.
During the month of April, you can tour Georgetown’s Old Town District and see red poppies growing in residential yards north of the Square. Go to RedPoppyFestival.com to see an interactive or printable map that shows where you can see red poppies in Old Town in April.
There are so many ways to experience what makes Georgetown such a special, caring community in April. I hope you will join me April 26-28 on the Square for a memorable 20th edition of the Red Poppy Festival.
Photos: Rudy Ximenez