It has been hard to tell with this week’s unusually cold temperatures, but spring has arrived in Virginia. This weekend, thousands of visitors will be warming up to the season during Leesburg’s annual Flower and Garden Festival.
Streets in downtown Leesburg will be closed to traffic beginning Friday afternoon and will remain closed until Sunday night.
In between those times, a six-block area will be transformed into an outdoor garden with everything from elaborate landscaping displays to garden equipment vendors.
Forecasters are predicting sunny skies for the festival, although the temperatures aren’t expected to climb beyond the 60s.
It is the 28th year for the festival, which annually ranks as Loudoun’s largest tourism event and draws 30,000 to 40,000 visitors.
“The Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival is one of our marquee events—where participants, shop owners, restaurateurs, residents and visitors all come together,” said Town Manager Kaj Dentler. “It really is the start of the spring for everyone.”
More than 150 vendors will be spread out over the six-block festival area to give the visitor a mix of everything to do with the garden—plants, equipment, hardscape and design items, art, clothing, statuary and outdoor furniture and summer living. There also will be eight nonprofit tables at the downtown post office on East Market Street, where representatives of Loudoun groups will share information about their programs with the public.
The weekend also includes a full schedule of live music performances—on the main stage in the courthouse square, in the beer garden on the Town Green, and in the children’s area on Cornwall Street.
The festival is organized and managed by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department staff. Linda Fountain and Barb Smith head up the team this year.
Fountain said the sheer quality of the horticultural offerings and gardening equipment each year is impressive, not to mention the “instant gardens” that spring up overnight on Friday as crews assemble elaborate landscape displays. There will be six landscapers at this year’s show.
“It can take them up to 12 hours overnight to compose their creations,” Fountain said.
“People love this festival. It’s amazing—they just can’t seem to wrap their brains around it,” Smith said. “It’s like a magic trick.”
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visitors are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and to leave pets at home.
Continuous shuttles will transport visitors to and from the festival parking area at Ida Lee Park on North King Street. Parking is also available at the Leesburg Town Hall and the Loudoun County Government Center garages along Loudoun Street. All parking is free.
For more details on the weekend’s activities, go to flowerandgarden.org.