Garden Fair Weekend is back!
Shop for a variety of plants, antiques, garden art and more, while enjoying food and music from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 5, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 6, at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St.
“We’re expecting a great year,” says Klehm Executive Director Alexander Mills. “People are ready to return to outdoor events in a safe way. The pandemic really helped people to understand the value of being outdoors and we want them to continue to visit, explore and experience nature safely, year-round.”
The Garden Fair is Klehm’s biggest fundraiser, and is now in its 28th year. Attendees will notice some new features and vendors.
Klehm’s Fountain Garden will turn into a weekend-long Learning and Education Garden, where non-profit organizations with a focus on gardening, nature, conservation and the environment will offer demonstrations, talks and information. Musicians, including Trinadora and Emerald Wind, will perform between presentations.
The food court is adjacent to the fountain area and will include Cantina Taco, Pizza Fresca, Prairie Street Brewing Company and many others.
Mills says the Learning and Education Garden fits nicely with Klehm’s mission “to be a living museum for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of all people.”
“We wanted to add more educational opportunities for people interested in nature, the outdoors and conservation because people attending the Garden Fair have interests in these areas,” he says.
Michelle Cox, owner of The Landscape Connection, says her business has been represented at every Garden Fair since 2013. It’s a win-win for everyone, she says, since she can promote her own business, support Klehm and give customers a chance to get outdoors, socialize and find good deals.
“We’ll be featuring all those wonderful items you need to create your own personal outdoor space, whether that’s on the porch or out in the yard,” says Cox. “We try to be different and offer things other vendors are not selling. This year, we’ll have a great variety of succulents, perennials and ornamentals, and everything will be on sale.”
Some other items and businesses at the Garden Fair this year include Artsy Garden Glass & Metal Art; Bloom and Grow Gardens, Inc.; Branching Out, Inc., selling trees, shrubs and perennials; yard art, bird houses and antiques by Creekside Peddler; unique handmade jewelry from Designs by Jeff; dip mixes and seasoning from Dip ‘n Good Dips; hand-poured soy candles from Emily’s Candles & Bath; Stone art from Filigree Studios; nature photography by Griffin Photo and Design; succulents, houseplants and planters from John’s Plants; hair accessories for gardening by Lilla Rose Hair Accessories; air plants, terrariums and fairy gardens by Mama T’s Air-Plants; paintings and handmade cards by Peony Girl; Wooden signs and stakes by Sign After Sign; hand cast garden stones from Stonecrete; statues, windchimes and lawn art by What’s New; and native plants by Wild Ones.
Visitors will notice a new 64-square-foot limestone sign with bold lettering and Klehm’s logo at the arboretum’s South Main Street entrance. It was put in place last fall and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held early in May. Several local businesses worked together to make and install the sign, including Arc Design Resources, Stenstrom Construction, Larson & Darby, Miller Engineering, Shawcraft Sign and Tree Care Enterprises.
“There’s no missing us now,” says Mills. “People, especially out-of-towners, would not always see us sometimes and would drive right past or have to circle around because they missed the entrance. That’s not a problem anymore. Visitors to the city can now see us as one of the many exciting destinations in Rockford. And with the new hotel up the street and the redesigned highway interchange at U.S. 20, we fit in very well with the new corridor.”
To enhance safety at the event, tickets will be sold in advance as well as at the door. Face coverings are required except when eating and drinking. Signs will direct traffic flow. Social distancing is encouraged and hand sanitizer stations will be placed in high traffic areas. By entering Klehm, you’re confirming you have no symptoms of COVID-19.
Tickets are $5 in advance, $8 at the door and admission is free for members and children up to 12. Advanced tickets can be purchased at Didier Greenhouse, both Gensler Gardens locations, The Landscape Connection, Meridian Nursery, Pepper Creek Flowers and Plants, at both Village Green locations and at the Klehm Gift Shop. ❚