The first day of spring has sprung, and Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is ready to celebrate with its 23rd annual Spring Garden Festival, hosted this weekend.
The event is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children, with a new half-off special for children on Sunday.
Alexis Caffrey, director of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, said the event will be largely plant-centered, with about 200 plants. There will also be booths, garden accessories, arts and crafts, food and speakers at the festival. Caffrey said the gardens will serve as a backdrop for the event.
For the first time, there will be a bounce house for children, face painting, free plants and arts and crafts. Another new feature, Caffrey said, is volunteer groups, such as the Dudley Farm, speaking about their organization.
This year’s theme, “Passalong Plants,” encourages exchanging plants among family and friends. Caffrey said she expects about 7,000 people to attend this weekend.
According to the Kanapaha Garden website, the event is cash-only and not pet-friendly. There is also a $2 discount for members of Kanapaha.
Kara Joseph, a 21-year-old junior advertising major, said she went last year to the festival.
“I absolutely loved it,” she said.
She said she enjoyed the unique music, the vegan and eclectic food and dressing up in large hats for the festival with her friends.
“It felt like a farmer’s market, with a focus on fresh plants,” she said.
Caffrey said the festival is unique in regard to how it manages waste. She said all trash gets sorted so it can be composted or recycled.
“We try to decrease waste as much as possible,” Caffrey said.
She said the Spring Garden Festival is the gardens’ largest fundraiser.
“We need the Spring Garden Festival to let the gardens exist year after year,” she said.