From April 26-28, tens of thousands of people will flood downtown Georgetown to attend the 25th annual Red Poppy Festival.

The three-day event will celebrate the city's century-old red poppy bloom with parades, live music, over 150 vendors and entertainment.

The breakdown

On Friday, April 26, the festival will kick off at 6 p.m. with a food and artisan vendor market, alongside a live performance from the rock, funk and blues band Dysfunkshyn Junkshun, who also played at the 2023 festival.

Saturday, April 27, will begin with a parade through the Square, followed by dozens of live music and local performances on three different stages.

Local groups performing this year include the Sun City Georgettes drill club, Georgetown Palace Theatre and the Georgetown Ballet.

At 9:30 p.m., festival headliner and country music star Easton Corbin will perform on the main Red Poppy Stage.

The final day, Sunday, April 28, will begin at 11 a.m., and the festival will close at 5 p.m.

Other activities throughout the weekend include a car show, a pet parade, food trucks and a "Kids Fun Zone" with games and obstacles.

In place of the BMX bike trick show from previous years, an aerialist duo will perform an acrobatics act, said Sharon Parker, special events coordinator for the city of Georgetown, in an emailed statement.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival, there will be several surprise events and activities throughout the weekend, Parker said.

A full schedule of each day can be found online.

Getting around

Free shuttle services will be available from 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. April 27, with pickup locations at East View High School and Georgetown High School.

Participants are encouraged to use ride-share apps or park in public lots and garages, Parker said. Old Town neighborhood parking spots will be limited, and towing will be enforced.

The parking lot at 10th Street and Main Street is reserved for those with mobility challenges.

The backstory

The origin of red poppy flowers in Georgetown dates back to World War I, when a soldier Henry Purl Compton—who was known as Okra—sent home seeds from Europe to his mother, who planted them in her lawn on Seventh Street. Since then, the flowers have bloomed on rights of way and resident gardens throughout the city from February to April.

On April 25, 1990, Georgetown was named the “Red Poppy Capital of Texas" by the Legislature, and in 1999, the festival tradition began, according to the city.

The impact

Many businesses in and around the square will remain open for shopping and dining throughout the festival, Dowtown and Tourism Director Kim McAuliffe said.

"When I visited with businesses last year, I heard an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and record-breaking sales numbers for several businesses. Outside of the holiday season, the Red Poppy Festival is a huge revenue generator for our small businesses," McAuliffe said.

The city conducts an economic impact report on the festival every five years. The next one will follow the 2025 festival.