on Thursday, September 5, 2019
For many families in the Cedar Valley Area, the Arboretum is a hidden treasure full of fun activities and memories to be made. With magical hiding holes, mysterious gnomes, and a variety of gardens to explore visitors are sure to find something that brings a smile to their face. The Fall Harvest Festival is our annual celebration in honor of the end of the season as our last large event. If you weren’t one of the over 3,000 people who attended the festival last year, we hope that you’ll think about joining us this year on September 21st & 22nd and see what the hype is all about!
Reason #1: There are so many activities!
Each year our committee meets and discusses what ideas we want to bring to the festival for that year. The introduction of a new sponsor level helped us bring in fun entertainment such as the petting zoo on both days of the festival. The popular Hobbit activities are making a comeback with the chance to use the slingshot and participate in the middle earth quest , and fun for the littlest ones such as haybale horses. There are crafts, photo opportunities, and educational opportunities.
Reason 2: The festival is free to Arboretum Members!
Free admission to the festival is a perk for each Arboretum membership level and a great value for families who want to attend both days. Families are able to come and go as they please throughout the day without worrying about re-entry fees which is great if you have a soccer game or other event on the weekend but also don’t want to miss out on the fun.
Reason 3: See the scarecrow committee’s hard work on display!
Our scarecrow committee starts to meet in late spring and build the scarecrows that are available for auction. This year, volunteers were tasked with the challenge of creating scarecrow vignettes. We don’t want to spoil all of the surprises but these vignettes have scarecrows in all sorts of fun activities such as fishing, marching in a band, and painting. Many of our scarecrow committee members have been building scarecrows for the auction for 3 or more years! We couldn’t do it without the help of Jerry who generously lets the committee take over his property for a few months.
Reason 4: You get to enjoy nature!
Even though there is the hustle and bustle of the festival going on you can still find quiet places to sit and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine or listen to the birds sing or watch butterflies flutter by. With 40 acres to explore you’re able to enjoy time away from screens and technology and disconnect with the rest of the world. For those who aren’t fans of walking, the trolley ride takes you out to the furthest part of the Arboretum grounds and lets you see areas of the Arboretum you may have never seen before.
Reason 5: You help support the Arboretum!
The Fall Harvest Festival is one of our largest events which helps bring in thousands of visitors and shares our mission to enhance the quality of life for all individuals through horticulture. When visitors attend the festival, they enrich their lives by helping us nourish and share the beauty of the natural world, the joy of gardening, knowledge of plants, and the diversity of our world. In our increasingly technologically based world, we are a vital part of providing a space where people can disconnect and spend time outside. Every visitor who comes through the gardens, every photo taken and hashtag shared, every scarecrow bid on, and every recommendation to attend the festival (and the gardens) in the future helps us to continue our mission.
While everyone has their own reason for attending the festival, we hope that this list intrigues you enough to come and see our little celebration for yourself. Bring the family, the dog (on a leash of course) and bring your love for Iowa and the outdoors. We’ll see you on the 21st & 22nd!
Written By Beth Lavenz, Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens