The following was from a letter written in 1955 announcing the Sixth Annual Camellia Festival. “Semmes was once the heart of the Camellia and Azalea industry of America.”
The first Semmes Camellia Festival was a community event that began in 1949 at Semmes School. It was an elegant affair with the displays of individual Camellia blooms, Camellia flower arrangements, and landscape displays provided by Semmes Nurserymen.
Students of Semmes school provided Camellia’s in Art and a Camellia Pageant. The Camellia Pageant consisted of a King and Queen from the Senior Class and a court of Camellia Maids and Knights representing each class. A theme was chosen and Entertainment for the court was provided by each grade.
Revived Camellia Festival
In October of 2012 Camellia Maids were selected from applicants to become good will ambassadors for Semmes Heritage Park.
In January 2013 a new Camellia Festival was held at the Semmes Public Library.
Since this was our first show I contacted Semmes resident Walter Creighton, a member of the Mobile Camellia Club Show for advice. Walter chairs the Mobile Camellia club show. With his advice the show was set up and the Semmes New Camellia Festival was born. Walter participated showing a variety of blooms, some from plants that he had developed.
Don Oyler, another member of the Mobile Camellia Club brought many blooms to show. Carolyn Oyler, the wife of Don, created and displayed a photo gallery of Camellias. This first show had 100+ Camellia blooms contributed by hobbyists, home gardeners, individuals and local nurseries. The show included Camellia arrangements (tablescapes), art displays and information displays on the growing of camellias. Nurseryman Vaun Jarvis was available to answer questions.
Preserving our History