ENNIS — The City of Ennis is gearing up for a busy tourism season this spring, with the return of the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, presented by The Ennis Garden Club, that span the entire month of April. This year will also mark 66 years of the Ennis Garden Club will host the event.

In addition to the event, 2017 marks 20 years of Ennis being designated as the official "Bluebonnet Trail of Texas" and "Bluebonnet City of Texas," according to a resolution, HCR 116, signed by then-Governor George W. Bush on June 18, 1997.

According to a City of Ennis press release, the bluebonnets in the Ennis area typically begin blooming during the last week in March and usually peak around the third week of April. The release notes that bloom time can vary year to year due to weather conditions or the amount of rainfall, among other factors.

"In 2017, wildflower experts are predicting earlier bloom times for the season due to the extremely mild winter," the release explains." For updated on the bluebonnets in the area, visit bluebonnettrail.org

“Ennis Bluebonnet Trails is one of the most beautiful destinations to include in your travel plans for the month of April. We are just south of Dallas—Ft. Worth and we have the very best trails for viewing wildflowers in the state. The Ennis Garden Club invites you to join us for a private tour for buses or on your own viewing of our forty miles of trails in our beautiful countryside,” said Sandy Anderson, Chairwoman of the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival.

To highlight the season, the Ennis Garden Club has planned the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival for April 7-9, which includes a Friday night dance and vendors, Wine Wander, art and craft exhibitions, great live entertainment including bluegrass music and more.

"Ennis Garden Club hosts this family festival and is excited that generous community sponsors have committed to help make this event the best ever," said Alan Daugherty, Ennis Regional Medical Center CEO. "Ennis Regional Medical Center is proud to be the title sponsor for the 2017 Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival. As the title sponsor of this festival, we join hands with the Ennis Garden Club to ensure the best festival for years to come. Ennis Regional Medical Center is the community hospital in Ennis, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be such an integral part of this important event for Ennis."

Also sponsoring the festival this year is longtime supporter Kolache Depot Bakery, along with Ennis Main Street and Sleepy Hollow Estates.

"In 2017, the organizers have taken the festival up a notch," the City of Ennis press release states. "The nationally renowned Quebe Sisters, a bluegrass band, will be performing on Saturday, April 8. Also new this year is the Wine Wander. Ticket holders can pick up their souvenir wine glass and bag and stroll through the festival while tasting some of the finest wines in Texas.

"There is also a children’s activity area, food and drinks, bluebonnet souvenirs, railroad, and heritage museum, farmers market on Saturday, and wildflower walks on Saturday and Sunday only at Kachina Prairie, a nearby native prairie — weather permitting. Admission is free to all exhibits at Pierce Park, which is located on Northwest Main Street. The festival will also be held on W. Knox Street and N. Dallas Street in downtown Ennis."

Individuals can drive the 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails along winding country roads at no charge. Trail maps can be picked up all month at the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau during April. However, during the festival weekend, the printed maps will only be available at Pierce Park at the Ennis Garden Club souvenir tent and online. There will also be a new mobile app, “Ennis Y'all” that will feature the official bluebonnet map as well as Ennis shopping, dining, lodging, and attractions.

The Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau is also again sponsoring its annual “Bloomin’ Bluebonnet” photo contest. Photography contest forms can be downloaded from the website of www.visitennis.org.

Another exciting event taking place Saturday, April 8 during the festival will be “Buzz the Bluebonnets.” This event, hosted by the City of Ennis Municipal Airport, will allow aircraft owners to fly in and view the bluebonnets by air. The airport event will feature, food and aircraft from the Cold War Air Museum and Commemorative Air Force. Free transportation from the airport to historic downtown Ennis for the Bluebonnet Festival will be provided.

Other April events in Ennis also include live theatre at the new downtown Ennis Public Theatre and at Theatre Rocks, along with the Ennis Famers Market always held on Saturday mornings on N. Dallas Street in downtown Ennis.

According to the release, new, this year will be the Main Street Midway, a quality carnival located in downtown Ennis that will run April 12-16.

"Ennis also has unique shopping opportunities in its downtown," the release adds. "Ennis is also known for Lake Bardwell, the Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, events at the Texas Motorplex, the nearby seven screen Galaxy Drive-in Theatre, the Sugar Ridge Winery, the annual National Polka Festival on Memorial Day weekend and much more.

"Ennis is a quick trip south of downtown Dallas, just 25 minutes on Interstate 45. Visitors can stop by the Convention and Visitors Bureau office, located at 002 East Ennis Avenue, for brochures and maps of the trails. The Ennis CVB is open seven days a week in April only to serve the bluebonnet seekers except for Easter Sunday."

For more information, contact the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau at (972) 878-4748 or follow the Ennis CVB on Facebook and Twitter.

The staff at the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau encourages visitors to call, email, or visit the website before driving long distances for the latest status of the bluebonnets. Status updates for the best viewing times are available online at www.bluebonnettrail.org and on the Facebook pages of Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival and Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau. We welcome you to Ennis, a proud Texas Main Street City.