A Little History...
The original event was the brainchild of Judy Watkins, then the owner
of the Pine Cone Parlor, the original restaurant occupying the space where
La Leña Mexican Restaurant is now. In the next couple of years, as the
event grew rapidly in size and popularity, the Festival was made a
permanent annual event sponsored by the Pine Mountain Club Commercial
Property Owners Association. Rosetta Burgelin took over as Event Chair
and successfully put on the event (with a lot of help, of course)
every year for the next 25 or so. After a few years off, she has
taken over the reins again for the past two Festivals (plus the
Wine in the Pines wine festival, Run to the Pines Car Show, and two Pine Mt. Club Fall Festivals.)
The original festivals also incorporated a small car show for locals and
visitors to show off their “hot rods” and “classic” cars. The car show also
grew in popularity so it is now a separate event held on the first Saturday
of August each summer. The Lilac Festival has always had a parade to kick
things off. The parade was originally directed through the village center
in Pine Mountain Club, but because of the size of the event growing it
soon was held on Mil Potrero Hwy (the only main road that runs through Pine Mountain Club).
The most unique items at the festivals are all the handmade crafts, clothing,
sundries, food and much more. Many of the vendors at the Festival are local
mountain residents showing off their talents, adding a local flavor to the
wide variety of artisans who travel here from not only southern and central
California, but from throughout the Southwest, and even further: some from
New York state and New England.
Weather in May is usually the first signs of warming from our cold mountain
winters and flora and fauna are abundant. This includes, of course, all the
lilac bushes and trees that have been planted in Pine Mountain Club. Although
the actual blooming lilacs that are so popular in our culture are not a native
plant, they thrive in the climate up here. What few people know is that there
is an actual native bush in the California Mountain areas. The ones that grow
up here are called “White Bark California Lilac”. This shrub has blue flower
shoots and very sticky, fragrant leaves. More about these lilacs can be found here:
- there are many varieties of wild California Lilacs so don’t be
surprised if you’ve seen others up here as well as these!
The Festival has grown in popularity so much over the years that vendors (as well as visitors)
venture here from as far away as Nevada and Arizona each year. Thousands of people can be seen
in and around Pine Mountain Club during a Lilac Festival weekend—Hiking, biking, playing golf
and tennis, fishing, sitting or strolling in the clear, crisp alpine air.