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Peony Festival set to be in full bloom

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

One of the city’s most colourful spring events is making its return this weekend.

The 14th annual Peony Festival will be in full bloom at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10.

The festival, which was named as one of Ontario’s Top 100 festivals and events last fall, sees a wide range of activities and attracts approximately 6,000 to 7,000 people annually.

Painters, sculptors and artisans will show off their garden-inspired works, while a number of organizations will provide cultural performances.

Young enthusiasts can learn through an education bug display, crafts and the Healthy Kids Power Off and Play Roadshow Team.

There will also be various food vendors onsite when a bite to eat is needed.

And of course, last but not least, there are the stars of the show, hundreds of the blooming peonies.

Festival attendees can learn more about these unique plants, which are the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae, as experts will be on site to provide information and answer questions.

The city is also offering two contests in coordination with the festival.

The Peony Festival Art Contest challenges local artists to create their own interpretation of the flower.

Participants must drop their art off at the Children’s Arena, 155 Arena Street, on Friday, June 8 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Submissions will then be judged by festival-goers from across the province, and potentially beyond.

Winners will receive a $350 gift card for art supplies from Curry’s.

The Peony Photo Contest begins on Monday, June 11 at noon and closes Wednesday, June 13.

The grand prize is a $350 gift certificate from Henry’s, with second place receiving a $150 gift certificate.

The top photographs will be selected by a three-member panel of the Oshawa Camera Club, based on artistic and technical merits.

The Canadian Peony Society’s Peony Show will be an integral part of the festival

Entries will be accepted at Children’s Arena on Friday, June 8 from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 9, from 7 a.m. to  8:45 a.m.

Judging will take place Saturday from  9 to 11 a.m., while the show is open for public viewing on Saturday, June 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parking is available on-street, at the City Hall employee parking lot (45 Queen Street, off King Street and west of Centre Street) and at the McMillan parkade (on McMillan Avenue between King and Bond Streets). A free parking shuttle will stop at the Arts Resource Centre (45 Queen Street) and on the northwest corner of Bond Street West and McMillan Drive.

A free attraction shuttle bus service will run from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days between Parkwood National Historic Site & Heritage Gardens, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and the Canadian Automotive Museum.

The parking shuttle buses will depart every 20 minutes between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both festival days.

Please note that the shuttle buses are not accessible; the parking lot at 155 Arena Street is reserved for those with an accessible parking pass from the Ministry of Transportation.

For more information, visit www.oshawa.ca/peony.