Greenport Village will soon be awash with pink petals in shades from blush to bubble gum for an annual event that is as beautiful as it is short.
The village will once again provide a walking tour map of its spring flowering trees, mostly cherry blossoms, for its third annual Cherry Blossom Festival next month. The free festival is set for May 1 through 15, and the maps are available at various village businesses.
The map denotes about 300 trees planted by village workers on the rights of way between the sidewalk and the curb. The village budgets $12,000 a year for tree planting and maintenance, said Greenport Village Mayor George Hubbard.
“Some roads are all in pink,” he said. “It’s a pretty spectacular view driving or walking around."
Members of the village tree committee in 2016 mapped out the trees, which include earlier flowering varieties like the ultra-pale pink Snow Goose Cherry and white pear trees. More than two-thirds of the trees are Kwanzan cherries, which with their denser and more deeply colored blooms are the stars of the show.
Most trees are in bloom for only about a week before the petals fall to ground in a pink snow that either blows away or is cleaned up by street sweepers. Part of the draw of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bloom is being reminded of the ephemeral nature of all living things, said village tree committee chairman John Quinlan.
“We have a small window to come and see the trees. Probably two weeks, three at the most,” said Quinlan, who helped map the trees. “It’s a treasure that we have.”
Additionally, the Agrotourism Council, a Greenport-based nonprofit that promotes travel to agricultural areas like the North Fork of Long Island, has created a second map denoting the trees as well as local bars and restaurants offering cherry blossom-themed cocktails. Ten businesses each made a $50 donation to the tree committee to be included in the “Petal and Pub” tour, said Deborah Rivera, executive director of the council. Greenport's Lucharitos plans to offer a cherry lime margarita, while Olive Branch Restaurant & Cafe will serve its bubbly blossom cocktail.
“It’s to get people here during the week,” said Rivera, who also owns the Greenporter Hotel. “We don’t need more people here on Saturday in July. We want to promote the off season and midweek tourism.”
The village first began planting cherry trees in the 1980s under the tenure of then-mayor George Hubbard Sr., the late father of the current mayor. It formed its tree committee in 1991, though the committee remained dormant from 1993 through 2007. The village has been designated a Tree City USA since the committee was revived, one of the nearly 20 Long Island municipalities to perennially make the annual Arbor Day Foundation list. The elder Hubbard served on the board for more than three decades before his death in 2007.
“I still get texts or emails saying, ‘Thank your dad for this,’” Hubbard said of the blooms.