on Thursday, September 8, 2016
The Fall Harvest Festival is one of my favorite events of the year here in Waterloo. The Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens is bustling with visitors of all ages looking at the gardens, playing games, eating awesome food, shopping, and checking out all of the scarecrows. It is a unique event, and it is incredibly difficult to capture the energy and atmosphere without actually attending.
Scarecrows are displayed throughout the Arboretum and guests can vote on their favorite (hint, hint, there’s one that will be wearing an #IDigWaterloo shirt) and purchase their favorite to take home. The Children’s Garden is also filled with fun activities like face painting, snake exhibits, and opportunities to create take-home artwork. It is definitely worth the visit, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there!
I have to admit that beyond the Fall Harvest Festival, I had the impression that the Arboretum slows down after the summer months. I was very wrong. The gardens are ever-changing and are as beautiful now as they are throughout the spring and summer. There are vibrant fall colors on display too.
In addition, there are garden walks hosted by a long-time Arboretum volunteer. Those walks take you through the many acres of the Arboretum, with descriptions of the trees and plants that make their homes there.
While we touched briefly on the new orchard last year, you can see the amazing development now. This partnership between the Arboretum, Black Hawk County Master Gardeners and Northeast Iowa Food Bank offers opportunity for education (as in, what fruit trees can grow in my yard) and the fruit produced in the one-acre orchard will be donated to the Food Bank for distribution. In the near future, concerts and other special events will be held in that space too.
One of the most exciting things we saw while filming this episode is the new Hobbit House in the Children’s Garden. This new addition replaces the train garden, and will ultimately be a garden filled with whimsical plants, surrounding a “house” built partially underground. The Hobbit House will offer a chance to play and imagine in a space unlike others I’ve seen. And it is big enough for moms and dads to play and imagine right along with their children.
It is a great time to make a first-time or return visit to the Cedar Valley Arboretum!
Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.
- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau