In bloom: Indiana Peony Festival returns to Noblesville


The City of Noblesville will celebrate the return of spring May 18 when the Indiana Peony Festival makes its fourth annual return to Noblesville’s Seminary Park.

The free event is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 350 S. 10th St. in Noblesville.

The Indiana Peony Festival is a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire residents to celebrate Indiana’s state flower, the peony, and enhance Noblesville through beautification projects, peony gardens and horticulture education.

Kelly McVey, the organization’s CEO and the event creator, said the festival will feature more than 120 vendors as well as peony plants, peony growers, artisans, kids’ activities, horticulture classes, floral displays, food and spirit trucks, among other items.

“The city will close 10th Street between Mulberry and Cherry streets for the day for the first time this year, allowing vendors to set up on the street,” McVey said. “This will free up space within Seminary Park to stop and smell the peonies and enjoy the park and activities within it. We want to increase the size of our footprint dramatically, so people have more room to enjoy the park and flower displays.”

Although the festival is free, the celebration begins May 17 with Peonies in the Park, a ticketed event for guests 21 and older that runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit. Tickets are $150 per person. Proceeds support Indiana Peony Festival’s initiatives to expand the peony beautification footprint for all of Noblesville and Hamilton County.

Entering its third year, the fundraiser will feature a new “chef theme,” with chefs from across the Indianapolis area, including Samir Mohammad with 9th Street Bistro, Tyler Shortt with Tinker Street and Michael Conley with KanKan, among others.

“We have about 20 floral designers doing floral displays throughout the park and downtown,” McVey said. “So, those who come to Peonies in the Park can see beautiful floral designs, take photos and enjoy food and cocktails.”

Brunch & Blooms, a brunch and retail crawl, will also return to downtown Noblesville for the fourth year. It is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18 as part of the festival, with roughly 30 walkable merchant locations offering additional peony-inspired food, beverages, products and promotions. The alleys will also be full of hanging flowers and live music.

“I graduated from Noblesville High School and worked at a corner drugstore, so one of my passions has always been highlighting downtown businesses,” McVey said. “(Brunch & Blooms) encourages people to not only visit us at Seminary Park but also see what downtown Noblesville offers. We thought that encouraging people to go downtown was one way we could increase our footprint and let people experience all of Noblesville.”

McVey said she coined the idea for the festival when she began planting peonies with her sisters.

“I started growing my own peonies before I knew it was the state flower,” McVey said. “I didn’t know how many varieties there were and thought it was important as Hoosiers for people to know more about them.”

McVey chose May as the perfect time for the festival because of the influx of people visiting central Indiana for the Indianapolis 500.

“There are so many people in town for the 500, and the peony festival is a way to capture more of who we are,” McVey said. “I had a friend on a committee to revitalize Seminary Park a few years ago, and we decided to plant peonies there. Once I saw the beauty of what the park would look like, I got the parks department to agree to hold the festival there and we have planted over 200 peonies in the park since then.”

McVey said the festival attendance rises every year, with more than 25,000 people attending last year’s event.

“The festival is a great way to bring the community together and to meet visitors as well,” McVey said. “The good thing is that people come from all over to attend the festival and it puts Noblesville on the map.”

Volunteers can sign up to help at the festival until the beginning of May. For more, visit


Peonies in the Park: 6 to 9 p.m. May 17, 350 S. 10th St.

Indiana Peony Festival: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18, 350 S. 10th St.

Brunch & Blooms: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18, Downtown Noblesville

Parking: For a parking map, visit