Arnold Arboretum’s Lilac Sunday Canceled; Activities Moved to Saturday

There will be no “Lilac Sunday” activities at the Arnold Arboretum this year due to expected inclement weather. Instead, a scaled-back slate of activities will be offered Saturday, May 13.

“Due to forecasts of severe showers, the Arnold Arboretum has elected to cancel all Lilac Sunday activities planned for Sunday, May 14, and will instead offer a modified array of tours and family activities on Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” according to the arboretum’s Facebook page.

The annual event, which coincides with Mother’s Day, draws hordes of flower admirers from throughout the city and beyond for picnicking, children’s and educational activities and of course tours of the fragrant blooms in various shades of purple and white on the edge of Bussey Hill, along one of the arboretum’s main arteries. With 369 lilac plants representing 165 kinds, the Arboretum holds one of the premier lilac collections in North America.

Chris Helms

Photos among the lilacs are de rigueur.

On Lilac Sunday, visitors are allowed to picnic in the arboretum, and for the past several years, food trucks have been part of the festivities. However, this year, “although picnicking will be allowed on Saturday, Food Truck Festivals of America will not be participating in the event,” per the Facebook page.

Other activities now scheduled for Saturday include lilac tours and children’s entertainment such as designing Mother’s Day cards and applying lilac temporary tattoos.

Richard Heath

All the arboretum’s lilac shrubs are tagged.

Lilac-themed T-shirts will be sold in the Hunnewell Building Visitor Center and in the landscape near the lilac collection, with proceeds benefiting the Arboretum. In addition, visitors can join the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum as a new member at the Household level ($50) and receive a special lilac seedling while supplies last. A membership tent will be set up near the lilacs.

And for those whose Sunday plans have been foiled, the arboretum reminds lilac fans that the blooms can still be enjoyed in the days and weeks ahead.

“Although we’re sad to have to cancel this beloved event, the Arboretum’s one-of-a-kind lilac collection is expected to be in bloom through the month of May,” according to its Facebook page. “We hope you can join us on Saturday to enjoy the activities, but you can also visit anytime from dawn to dusk to enjoy the lilacs and explore other seasonal highlights in the Arboretum’s free, 281-acre landscape.”

Richard Heath

Lilac Sunday typically draws crowds to the Arnold Arboretum.