Charleston residents begin work for annual festival

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CHARLESTON -- With the long winter -- hopefully -- behind them, Charleston residents can finally begin work to ensure their dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom for next month's festival.

"We're trying to get the yards cleaned up, and hopefully we'll have some green yards and flowers to come up in time for the festival," Charleston resident Betty Hearnes said.

Until Thursday, residents haven't had enough days of nice weather to begin any kind of yard preparations and cleanup of debris left behind from the multiple snow storms this winter, said Hearnes, who coordinates the festival's piano concert.

"We would not be ready the first week in April this year for sure," Hearnes said.

The festival -- now in its 46th year -- is scheduled for April 10-13.

Hearnes said she couldn't recall another year where snow was on the ground so close to the festival.

"I've seen it get cold after the flowers were already blooming and we've had cold weather before. I don't remember snow being on the ground though," Hearnes said. "This winter started last November, and that's a long time for Southeast Missouri."

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