GIBSLAND – Spring is just around the corner, and now is the time to talk about the annual Jonquil Jubilee festival held annually in Gibsland.
In the spring of 1998, some friends sat drinking coffee, and 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, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The first Jonquil Jubilee was held Feb. 27, 1999, about a year after that chat over coffee. There was much talk and conferring between the 1998 conversation and the actual first jubilee. Committees were formed, goals were established and much thinking and planning was done.
The festival goals were to create interest in Gibsland and Bienville Parish; to stimulate cleanup, rejuvenation and beautification of Gibsland and Bienville Parish; to raise funds for Gibsland Revival 2000 Inc.; and to enhance downtown Gibsland. Another goal was to promote unity and cohesion among citizens and to promote Bienville Parish as the Daffodil Capital of Louisiana.
Net proceeds from sales and activities go to Gibsland Revival 2000, Inc., a nonprofit organization.
A sense of community has been stressed in planning for each festival since its inception. Involvement of all citizens in every walk of life has been encouraged and received. All civic organizations and churches have joined in to make the Jonquil Jubilee a success. That success can be seen as plans are underway for the 18th festival set for March 4.
There have been some changes over the years. Beautiful collectors’ posters are designed each year. Events and programs that didn’t work have been replaced with new events and programs to change with the times. Children’s programs are always included as well as an annual t-shirt sale.
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 from Interstate 20 all the way to the Town of Gibsland – literally thousands of blooms. It is a sight to behold.
Each year, thousands of bulbs are planted in downtown Gibsland, in personal yards, and along the banks of private and public roads in the Gibsland-Mt. Lebanon-Oak Grove area, the area which comprises the driving tours.
The cost of the bulbs and labor for planting is paid by the Jonquil Jubilee.
Homeowners have invested in improving their personal property by planting hundreds of bulbs. Finding the variety that does best in our climate is always a fun challenge.
To say that Gibsland and the surrounding areas are proud of their daffodils understates the thrill which the community feels each year during late winter when the blooming of the bulbs begins.
On every corner, and in every gathering, there is always talk of the daffodils.
Everyone is happy, everyone is concerned, everyone delegates in the beauty that is ours in Gibsland, the Daffodil Capital of Louisiana.
Schedule of Events
The Jonquil Jubilee will be from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The pancake and sausage breakfast will be at 8 a.m., at the Gibsland Lions Club building. Cost is $5.
Shop downtown at the Gibsland Bank Annex. Vendors featuring hand-crafted items such as lotions, soaps, teacakes, decorative accessories, jewelry and garden accessories will be showcasing their treasures.
A raffle for a handmade quilt or 1,000 bulbs planted at the location of your choice.
Enjoy lunch at the Gibsland Grill.
Tour the Bonnie and Clyde Museums, the Barbara Van Cleave Joiner Memorial Garden and the Burkhalter Gazebo.
Purchase a $10 ticket, which provides a map and directions to view over 1 million bulbs during a driving tour. Begin at any location. Stop and stroll through fields of beautiful flowers and view a vintage model car exhibition at Lorris and Elaine Carters. View a variety of jonquils at Sally’s Field, Oak Grove Farm and Evergreen Farm.
View the First Baptist Church of Gibsland’s handmade quilts and crafts.
View a “Celebration of Daffodils” through beautiful tablescaps at the fellowship hall of Gibsland United Methodist Church.
View the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church sanctuary, the oldest continuously operated Baptist church in Louisiana, established in 1837. Also, stop by the Mt. Lebanon Stagecoach Trail Museum.
Visit Russell and Sue Kettler’s blacksmith shop and watch demonstrations that will take guests back in time.
Gibsland is located approximately one mile south of I-20 at the Gibsland/Athens exit (#61), 45 miles east of Shreveport and 56 miles west of Monroe.