Spring is in full bloom at UT, and in Plant Park as well. Large crowds flocked to the Seventh Annual Plant Park Green Fest over the weekend in hopes of raising money to restore the park.
The event bills itself as a “two-day educational nature festival,” spreading the word about “care and cultivation of plants and flowers in Florida.”
Green Fest is a huge plant sale that features more than 80 vendors selling plants and landscaping tools, as well as an array of foods from popcorn to corndogs. Not only gardeners but also families and their children come to visit the beautiful floral displays throughout the park.
One festival-goer remarked that the “unique vendors and plants” are the reason why this festival “far exceeds all the others.” Goodhind’s Delights, a company from Immokalee selling unique blended jams and jellies, is one such company.
Their products are based on Native American recipes that have been honed in a Naples farmer’s market and carry on the tradition of Pam Brown’s great-grandfather who came to America and set up the first Seminole trading post centuries ago.
Brown continues her great-grandfather’s tradition with all-natural recipes like “Salsa Tropical,” a jam mixing pineapple, mango, oranges, strawberries, sugar and pectin. A native of Florida, Brown tries to help promote the rich natural history of Florida by using mostly Florida grown products in her jams.
Vevie Demmit, a visitor to the festival, recalls her childhood experience playing in Plant Park with her sisters when the trolley would bring them from Ballast Point.
“UT is an asset, and this is the best festival in Florida,” she said
The Friends of Plant Park appreciate UT and Plant Park’s importance to the community.
“The festival is to raise money to restore Plant Park,” said Patsy Woodroffe, a long-time member who hopes to see the park returned to its “historic and original integrity of the gardens of Mr. Henry B. Plant.”
The group plans to hire a landscape architect and historical preservationist to redevelop the park.