The sea of white and green that spans the Catawba River each May draws thousands of hikers and paddlers of all ages.
Every year from May to mid-June, Landsford Canal State Park hosts Lilyfest, a celebration of the rare Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies that bloom in the Catawba River.
The park is also home to well-preserved remains of the canal system used commercially from 1820 to 1835 to navigate the Catawba River.
Andrew Lazenby, a volunteer with the park, said Lilyfest gives park goers a chance to experience the large bloom of spider lilies while learning of the area’s significance.
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“It’s a good chance to bring history and nature together and get folks out to enjoy both,” he said.
It’s a good chance to bring history and nature together.
Andrew Lazenby, Landsford Canal State Park
The 448-acre park, located in Chester County just two miles from U.S. 21, is home to the world’s largest population of the flower.
Visitors can do a 1.5-mile, round trip hike to an overlook to take in the blooms, or paddle right through them.
Harley Davis, 18, and Bailey Davis, 7, came from Hartsville to enjoy the lilies.
“It’s something that everybody should see at least once,” Harley said.
Bailey said she enjoyed seeing the large collection of white flowers.
“They grow not much so you should probably see them while you can because they are very beautiful,” she said. “I didn’t know it was going to be this many. That’s a lot of them.”
Lazenby said people enjoy coming to look at the flowers each year, which helps support Landsford Canal State Park. He said this time of year is the time to see the lilies.
“It helps to spread interest and inform the public that this park is here,” Lazenby said.
Peak blooms are expected to last until mid-June. The park is open until dark daily.