Annual Spring Garden Festival returns to Kanapaha


The Spring Garden Festival features more than 200 vendors with plants, and arts and crafts as well as a walk-through butterfly conservancy, live entertainment and children’s activities. (Brad McClenny/Staff photographer/File)

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.

Heather Blake is ready for spring.

Facts

23rd Spring Garden Festival

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 SW 58th Drive
Admission: $8 adults, $5 children 13 and younger
Info: 372-4981, www.kanapaha.org

Blake, the owner of Natural Treasures Farm and Nursery, will display more than 1,000 plants at the Spring Garden Festival at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens this weekend, and she’s not alone. More than 200 vendors will be at the gardens Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s a great thing to share your passion about plants with other people who want to learn about them,” she said.

This is the 23rd year the Spring Garden Festival has been in Gainesville. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Director Alexis Caffrey expects about 7,000 people to attend.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Passalong Plants,” which refers to plants that are given or donated. Caffrey said many of the plants at the gardens have been gifts, which is why event organizers chose that theme.

While there are local businesses participating, she said vendors are also coming from Tampa, Jacksonville, Panama City and other Florida cities.

“A lot of these vendors are from out of town. They’re going to be staying in hotels, eating at restaurants, buying gasoline,” she said. “It’s a huge revenue source for Alachua County.”

Plants are the major focus of the festival, but there are a variety of non-gardening events taking place. Local musicians will perform, arts and crafts will be sold, and a live auction will be held Saturday.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 2 to 13.

Caffrey said event organizers wanted the festival to be child friendly, so children tickets are half-priced Sunday. The festival will have a designated children’s area with a bounce house and arts and crafts.

She said having the gardens as a backdrop for the event is a plus.

“It really has that festival atmosphere,” she said. “You get all of this going on, and you also get to enjoy the 62-acre botanical gardens.”

Blake, who has attended the festival for 15 years, plans to bring an assortment of plants ranging from culinary herbs to large trees.

She said she starts preparing for the event months in advance, and she grows and buys plants specifically for the festival.

“It’s a lovely weekend to come out and enjoy the gardens,” she said. “It’s just a great atmosphere.”

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