Festival celebrates West Chicago's passion for gardening

 
By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald correspondent
Posted5/15/2018 12:46 PM
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  • West Chicago's Blooming Fest 2018 returns to downtown from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with a variety of vendors, activities and plenty of plants.

    West Chicago's Blooming Fest 2018 returns to downtown from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with a variety of vendors, activities and plenty of plants. Daily Herald file photo

  • Flowers are the star of the show when West Chicago celebrates Blooming Fest 2018.

    Flowers are the star of the show when West Chicago celebrates Blooming Fest 2018. Daily Herald File Photo

Blooming Fest 2018 is springing ahead, undeterred by the forced cancellation of last year's celebration when a severe electrical storm created unsafe conditions.

Enthusiasm for the annual rite of spring in West Chicago has brought forth a bumper crop of artists, crafters, plant sellers and special events, said Bethany Bayci, the city's special events coordinator, with more than 80 vendors scheduled to participate.

Among those are crafters who specialize in planters and garden ornaments, and metal workers who create garden art.

Visitors looking to add new life to their gardens need look no further than the West Chicago Garden Club's plant sale -- an annual highlight of the fest.

"They'll have vegetables, seedlings, annuals and perennials," Bayci said. "It is the biggest fundraiser for the garden club for the year."

Competition for the best plants is keen, she said.

"The best selections are available early in the day," she said.

A GardenWorks Project organic plant sale will take place at Gallery 200, 103 W. Washington St. Used gardening tools will be given away while supplies last and the group will present a 1 p.m. class titled, "Your Vegetable Gardening Questions Answered."

New this year is the Ball Horticultural Company's "Wave Van," a place to pick up gardening tips from experts and learn about new flower and vegetable varieties.

The Healthy West Chicago Children's Area, another new addition, will offer volunteer-fueled activities such as face painting, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes and Hula-Hoops.

"It's just a fun area where kids can get out some energy," Bayci said.

The city's One West Chicago initiative, an effort to embrace communitywide diversity, will present a symbolic collaborative art project for children that will include prize giveaways, Bayci said.

The day also will include the Chicago Corvette Club Car Show on Main Street. The club will give kids a chance to race Matchbox cars on a kids' track. Kids may keep the cars in exchange for a donation to Chicago's Lurie Children's Hospital.

Winners of a community banner competition will be named at 10:15 a.m. on the main stage. From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., banner artists' work will be on display at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main St. where visitors may vote for their selections for people's choice awards.

Bayci said the event will go on, rain or shine, unless severe weather pops up like it did last year.

Free parking is available at city hall, the Metra train station, Republic Bank, District 94's Administrative Office and at Water's Edge Bible Church.

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