Downtown Leesburg will celebrate the start of spring this weekend, with the popular annual Flower and Garden Festival.
Now in its 27th year, it may be April showers that usher in the two-day festival, with chilly temperatures and patches of rain forecasted for both Saturday and Sunday.
But event organizers are undeterred in their quest to again put on a top-notch production in the rain-or-shine affair. After enjoying two days of beautiful, warm weather last year, it may be a bit of a soggier affair this time around. But there still is something for everyone at the downtown event.
Linda Fountain, events and community outreach manager for the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, was fast at work this week nailing down all the last-minute to-dos and making sure all is ready for 5 p.m. Friday, when the streets close and vendors begin rolling in to set up.
It’s that time of the weekend that is Mayor Kelly Burk’s favorite.
“It’s really cool to walk down the street and see all the displays be put together,” she said. “The town slowly changes from a street to a garden center. It’s amazing to see what they do and how they do it.”
Kicking off the festivities this weekend will be a new event at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center on Friday night. Internationally renowned horticulture expert Barry Glick will give a lecture on Woodland Wonders from the Wild from 7-9 p.m. The president and founder of Sunshine Farm & Gardens in Renick, WV, will have rare and hard-to-find plants available for sale, and the first 100 attendees will receive the coveted Flower & Garden Festival tote bag before the festival even opens. Tickets for the Leesburg Historic Homes & Gardens Tour will also be raffled off, in addition to some books donated by Glick.
“There’s a lot of good reasons to come to the presentation Friday night at the recreation center,” Fountain said.
Glick will be giving another presentation Saturday on the presentation stage on The Joy of Propagation from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
For Fountain, the festival marks the start to spring and a highlight is seeing neighbors and friends after a long winter hibernation.
“It’s so fun the amount of people that live in the community that you haven’t seen in six to nine months because you’re coming out of winter,” she said. “This is just a great community event where the entire town comes out and kind of reconnects with people you haven’t seen in such a long time.”
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 22, and again Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the scores of vendors hawking garden and outdoor goods, 13 food vendors will be on hand to satisfy even the most discerning pallet. A beer garden, showcasing the county’s booming craft brewery industry, will be set up on the Town Green. A main stage and presentation stage can be found on the courthouse grounds for those looking to enjoy some great music, or learn something new. And the children’s stage and art area returns to North Street to give the community’s youngest attendees a chance to get in on the fun.
It is just this—the wide variety of activities and tastes satisfied at the festival—that Fountain says makes this one of Loudoun County’s best events, and biggest draws.
“It’s not just for gardeners or people putting landscaping in new yards,” Fountain said. “If you’ve got kids and want something fun to do to get outside for the weekend you’ve got the kids area and kids stage. You’ve got the Main Stage on the courthouse where you can go grab food at a food vendor, sit and listen to great music all weekend. You have the beer garden with seven or eight craft breweries, plus all the other vendors. We call it the Flower & Garden Festival because it’s just about all the products that have something to do with outdoor living. You might be looking for new deck furniture or a hammock or something for your pet.
“And to top it all off you’ve got downtown Leesburg,” she continued. “If you’re just into old towns and architecture it’s a great backdrop to come to downtown Leesburg and see all the restaurants and little shops we have to offer, and all the craft breweries.
“It’s just a great way to be outside.”
Full details on the weekend’s offerings can be found online at flowerandgarden.org, or go to the Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival Facebook page.