For the 27th year, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Marion County Master Gardener Volunteers are hosting the Spring Festival.
It’s an event that is always held on the second weekend in March.
The 2023 Spring Festival is a two-day event at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala that will take place on Saturday, and Sunday. Admission into the event will cost $3 for those 12 years and older and free of charge for everyone 12 and under.
For 16 of the years of the Spring Festival’s existence, Laura Perdomo and her business, the Peacock Cottage, have been attending the Spring Festival as a vendor. The Peacock Cottage offers house plants and specializes in African Violets.
She said she enjoys it.
“You have all these different vendors coming in from all over, you know, different places,” Perdomo said. “And they bring just such nice stuff, and it’s all blooming and it just really gives you an idea of like what you can do.”
There will be thousands of options for plants for attendees to look at. The 2023 Spring Festival will boast over 100 vendors and is one of the largest plant sales and educational showings in all of Florida.
“We have right close to if not over at this point, 100 vendors,” said Jeremy Rhoden, the Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator. “And we require all of our vendors to be selling a product that relates to horticulture or gardening.”
D & C Nursery, for example, will be selling herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers said its owner, Cathy Smith.
“We meet a lot of people, talk to a lot of people, we try to educate people what we know,” she said. “It’s a wonderful experience for that.”
Dee Mullen of Willow Gardens, who has been a vendor at the Spring Festival for six years, said she will have succulents and garden decor at her booth.
Anita Adams of Garden Spot Nursery or Garden Spot of the Sunshine State, LLC will bring a range of plants for the 2023 Spring Festival. Adams said that her booth will have peach trees, Persimmons, blueberry bushes, hibiscus, gardenia, petunias, dianthus and geraniums.
Those are just three of the vendors that will be at the Spring Festival. All sorts of plants will be on display for attendees to look at and purchase during the two days that event takes place.
In addition to the vendors that will be at the 2023 Spring Festival, there will also be educational seminars on many things related to horticulture and gardening.
“Then we also do educational seminars every hour that is free to anyone who comes into the festival, the seminars are completely free to attend every hour and we’ll be discussing things on items like hydroponics, permaculture, edible landscaping, tracking birds to your landscape all of those things,” Rhoden said.
Attendees come from all over Florida and from out of state for the Spring Festival, he said.
And the festival will be for more than just adults.
“We have a kid zone that’s full of vendors for kids to take part in with arts and crafts, and the US Entomology Department will be here with a whole bunch of live critters that they can hold and play with and see like tarantulas and scorpions, things of that nature,” Rhoden said.
Rhoden has seen 6,000 to 8,000 people attend in the past and expects as many as 10,000 this year.