The Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Wistaria Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday.
The festival, which is highlighted by the annual vine viewing, first began in the early 20th century, drawing as many as 100,000 visitors over an extended period of time. The vine is the world’s largest blossoming plant, and at its peak, the vine had as many as 1.5 million blooms, weighed 250 tons, and covered more than an acre of ground.
Now the vine, which is on private property, is open to visitors only one day a year. Visitors can view the vine from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the March 17 festivities.
In the last two years, rain has affected attendance, but with a dry weather forecasted this weekend, more than 10,000 people are expected to take part in the popular event.
Enjoy Shopping, Food and Live Music
In addition to vine viewing, downtown Sierra Madre is transformed into an arts and craft fair for the day, with 100 artisans and crafters displaying their work at booths on the town’s two main streets, which are completely shut down to traffic for the day. Attendees can explore and shop in the charming village shops that line the downtown area.
Festival-goers can also experience Sierra Madre cuisine in one of the town’s restaurants. Since the surge in outdoor dining in the 1990s, the city has been known throughout the valley as a great place to dine al fresco with a spectacular view of the San Gabriel mountains to the north. Diners can splurge on a variety of international flavors, including Mexican, Italian, Thai, California Continental cuisines, several types of American cuisine and even sushi.
Besides great food, revelers can also enjoy the musical acts performing at five outdoor venues that range from solo acoustic guitar and vocals, to blues rock, country rock and more.
Free to Attend, But Shuttle Service Recommended
The downtown festival is free to all who attend. Viewing of the vine is also free of charge, but due to the steep uphill climb to the private properties and limited parking in the vicinity of the vine, it is recommended that spectators enjoy a ride in the shuttle buses provided for your comfort.
Tickets for the shuttle round trip to the vine from the festival downtown are $12 when purchased in advance, and $15 the day of the event. Or $7 for seniors 62 and up, or kids 6-16 years of age. Kids under six ride free.
There is also a family four pack package -- 2 adults and 2 children -- for $30. If purchased online, a handling fee is charged per ticket/package. Shuttle tickets can be purchased online at www.WistariaTickets.com, and printed on your home computer.
(Note: Because the vine is on private property, it is not ADA compliant. Due to the hilly terrain, the site will not accommodate wheelchairs, strollers or people with limited mobility.)
If purchasing tickets on the day of the event, the Shuttle Ticket booth will open at 9 a.m. at the intersection of E. Montecito and Baldwin Avenues.
Sierra Madre is located directly North/East of Pasadena & North/West of Arcadia. Exit the 210 Freeway at Baldwin Avenue. Drive north to Sierra Madre Boulevard or take the Metro Link Gold Line to the Sierra Madre Villa Station where you can catch the Gateway Coach to downtown Sierra Madre.