Pollinating Community: Milford’s Wildflower Festival

The day-long arts market and concert aims to galvanize community and build thriving green spaces
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The first-ever Wildflower Festival takes place on Saturday, August 19, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Keyes Memorial Park in Milford.

If you noticed that a beautiful, brand-new bandstand in your hometown was hardly being used, what would you do? Most might shrug and hope for a concert or two — but not Griffith Comtois. After spotting Milford’s wooden-and-stone amphitheater, Comtois, a 24-year-old Milford native now living in Manchester, took it upon himself to start an arts and music festival from scratch — all for a good cause.

On Saturday, August 19, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 30 local arts vendors, three Granite State bands (Watson Park, Five Feet, and Sneaky Miles) and a handful of food trucks will gather at Keyes Memorial Park in Milford to raise money for the creation of pollinator gardens and bee hotels in Milford. With August 19 recognized as National Honey Bee Day, Comtois coined the event “The Wildflower Festival.”


To learn more about the Wildflower Festival’s arts vendors and bands, check out their Instagram and Facebook pages.

“The festival is a two-part thing in my mind,” Comtois says. “It’s a way to bring the community together, support local artists and have a good time at one of our parks, and then there’s the garden installations. I’m trying to raise money to build richer and more inclusive green spaces in the community, that’re beneficial to us but also support pollinators and native plants.”

Admission to the arts market (from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is free, but Comtois will use the money from selling concert tickets ($15 each, with live music from 6 to 9 p.m.) to build two bee hotels and revamp a Keyes Memorial Park garden. He plans to overhaul the current garden, re-edging it and planting a spread of native pollinator plugs including bee balm, cornflower, mountain mint, black-eyed Susan and more. Additionally, the town recommended Comtois plant a meadow of wildflowers in an empty field next to the Milford Community Athletic Association fields. “I’m a big fan of parks and incorporating more green spaces into the urban environment that we have,” he says. “I like to envision a future where we blur the lines between concrete jungle and the natural, wild world.”

Comtois partnered with a number of local businesses to assist in various stages of the festival and charity project. Town restaurants like Union Coffee Company and Station 101 Craft Beer are selling food at the fest or donating a dollar for every drink they sell, respectively, the Milford Lions Club is acting as Comtois’ nonprofit sponsor and children from the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley will help Comtois with the bee hotel and garden installation.

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Milford’s new bandstand at Keyes Memorial Park, which Wildflower Festival founder Griffith Comtois calls “beautiful.” “It’s this huge wooden-and-stone amphitheater right in front of a river, and as the sun sets it just glows, right there. It’s perfect.” Three bands (Watson Park, Five Feet, and Sneaky Miles) are slated to take the stage on August 19 during the Wildflower Festival’s concert.

Along with involving local organizations, Comtois has enlisted the help of family and friends. With a rotating cast of comrades designing posters, logos and promotional material, and plans to build the two bee hotels (which will be flower-shaped and stand six feet off the ground) in his dad’s woodshop, the festival’s sprouted from a solitary idea into a uniting cause. “I don’t really think I knew what I was getting myself into at first,” Comtois says. “It was my project at one point, but now it’s growing and flowing and I’m just guiding it.”

After nearly six months of detailed research, planning and outreach, Comtois is ready to see his lightbulb idea come to fruition and have a tangible impact on his community. “I’m just excited to see everybody there, having a good time and hopefully enjoying it,” he says. “I’m also really excited to design the garden, providing something that everybody can enjoy, and that weird, human idea of leaving a lasting impact. And it’s cool, too, because the more people see it, the more people will hopefully learn about the importance of it and understand my mission statement and carry it on.”

For more information, and to purchase concert tickets, give a donation, pre-order a t-shirt and more, visit linktr.ee/wildflowerfestivalnh.

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Wildflower Festival founder Griffith Comtois

Categories: Arts & Shopping, Guide to Summer, Local Artisans, Things to Do