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North Country

Festival Celebrating Beauty And Majesty Of The Lupine Turns 20

The Fields of Lupine Festival is marking its 20th year.

The event pays tribute to the brief but spectacular show of color the purple flower puts on in the Granite State’s North Country this time each year.

After making the hour and a half trek from Woodstock, Vermont to Sugar Hill, Renette Bedard found the perfect spot to snap a picture.

Standing atop a rock, she looks out into a sea of purple flowers known as lupines.

The backdrop: a lush forest and the majestic White Mountains.

“Oh, I love lupine. I think they’re beautiful. And I’m kind of a photographer, so I like to take photos.”

This was Bedard’s first time to the festival.

The event traditionally runs over a period of two weeks, when the lupines are in full bloom.

While most are purple, some are vibrant shades of pink and yellow, with green foliage at the base.

They can grow up to five feet tall.

Drive through Sugar Hill on any given day of the festival and you’ll see rows of empty cars parked along roadsides.

Ruth Martz and Steve Majeski of Sanbornton left their car to walk through a field to get an up-close look.

They explain its intrigue.

“I think it’s the color and just the majesty of it. You know, there’s sort of regal and they stand up. I just love the purple,” Martz said.

“The natural beauty of them is very inspiring, very peaceful and very naturally beautiful,” Majeski added.

At Harman’s Cheese and Country Store, owner Maxine Aldrich recalls the creation of the festival two decades ago.

“Actually, it was started by a local businessman, ran the Sunset Hill House. The lupine were out so he thought it would be nice to bring crowds so he did a special weekend and invited people in. It turned out so successful that the next year he asked other business owners if we’d like to join in and do it.”

Aldrich has helped organize the festival ever since.

It’s grown to include open air markets, horse-drawn wagon rides, and photography workshops.

She says this year’s turnout has been good, as the lupines started blooming right on cue just before the beginning of this month, as the festival opened.

“I think to see a big field of it, and of course, Sugar Hill is very scenic. When you see a field of mountains in the background, it’s sort of interesting. And a lot of people like to take photographs of it. It seems to come out in spite of rain or shine.”

This year’s festival concludes Saturday with an art show and the 2nd annual Taste of Lupine event.