Wildflower season has returned to the East Sierra desert with an explosion of color. In the city of Ridgecrest between the Sierra Nevada and Death Valley just off US 395, the Maturango Museum embraces the season with its Annual Wildflower Show April 15-17. This year for the first time the California State Assembly and Senate have declared April 17-23 as Native Plant Week and Ridgecrest adds to the observance with the First Annual Desert Wildflower Festival over the same April 15-17 weekend.

Activities include anything and everything related to blooms and blossoms — from workshops on photographing, painting and identifying them to arts and crafts featuring them and various mini-excursion options for seeing them — together with food and vendor booths, performers, the Sierra Art Show & Sale at the Carriage Inn, readings from the new book Planet Mojave by contributing authors from the California Writers Club, an eagerly anticipated geocaching event with plenty of hidden prizes arranged by the Carriage Inn with sign-ups at the Historic USO Building, and tours to the U.S. Naval Museum of Armament and Technology on the China Lake base to view a lunar soft landing vehicle, Sidewinder, missiles, rockets and other armaments developed and/or tested at China Lake.

The Kerr McGee Center on 100 W. California Avenue serves as the main exhibit hall, with most vendor and food booths open Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 10-4. The HistoricUSO Building on 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd. will host workshops and programs Saturday and Sunday. The Maturango Museum’s Annual Wildflower Show at 100 E. Las Flores Avenue runs Friday 1-8, Saturday 10-8 and Sunday 10-5. Antiques, collectibles, consignment and book enthusiasts will want to check out the eclectic array of shops along West Ridgecrest Blvd and Balsam Street, and on main street in Inyokern eight miles west of Ridgecrest. For festival schedules in advance, go towww.ridgecrestdesertwildflowerfestival.com or phone 800-VISIT-30 (800-847-4830). During the festival, find complete guides and updates onsite at the Carriage Inn, the Historic USO Bldg, the Kerr McGee Center and the Maturango Museum.

Source: Maturango Museum