By BLAKE AUSTYN
As the weather begins to cool and Tulsans continue to seek wide open spaces, Tulsa Botanic Garden will offer a number of outdoor activities beginning in mid-September that will allow for safe social distancing across 70 acres.
The Autumn in the Garden fall festival, entering its fifth year, will kick off more than a month of activities on Thursday, Sept. 24, 6-8 p.m., with live music and a food truck set among a festive display of more than 5,000 pumpkins, a dozen uniquely-designed scarecrows and a hay bale maze.
Live music and food trucks will continue every Thursday evening through the end of October.
The festival’s scarecrow display will be created by entrants in the Garden’s annual scarecrow-making contest, which offers cash prizes for “best in show” and “people’s choice.” Registration to enter ends Sept. 13. Participants must drop off their scarecrows one week after the registration deadline.
“In the past, the Garden has seen a range of participants, including artists, businesses, school groups, and families looking for a fun, creative project that they can do together,” says Lori Hutson, director of communications and outreach.
Included in this year’s Autumn in the Garden activities is DIG (Day In the Garden), to be held on Saturday, Sept. 26. The annual kid-focused event was rescheduled from its usual springtime date due to COVID-19.
DIG is an annual flagship family event for the Garden and is one of its longest-running events, featuring an all-inclusive ticket price that includes food and drink (beer and wine available for adults) and children’s entertainment and crafts, all taking place in the Garden.
“Additional precautions will be taken this year due to obvious health concerns brought on by COVID-19,” Hutson notes.
“For those who have attended DIG in the past, the format will have a greater focus on distancing; families will be able to spread out on the lawn overlooking the seven-acre lake and enjoy lunch and entertainment,” she continues.
Entertainment will include an interactive science show from BAM Entertainment plus live music by Hot Toast Music Company. Do-it-yourself craft boxes will also be available for children to enjoy during the event or to take home.
DIG ticket purchasers will be asked to choose one of two time slots: 10 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m. The Garden will be closed to the public on the day of DIG. Visit tulsabotanic.org to purchase advance tickets.
In order to offer local artists a venue to display their works, the Garden is holding an art fair on the weekend of Oct. 3-4. Garden members will be able to enter the Garden for free to view the art fair; otherwise, the cost to enter the fair will be the cost of Garden admission.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, tethered hot air balloon rides will be featured as part of a special ticketed afternoon event.
A string quartet and brass quintet from the TCC Signature Symphony will perform at the Garden on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 24. Food, beer and wine will be available for purchase. Ticketholders are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to spread out throughout the Garden, Hutson says.
On Thursday, Oct. 29, 5-7 p.m., the Garden will hold its final Autumn in the Garden activity, Boo-tanical, a special evening geared to the youngest of the holiday’s trick-or-treaters.
Other activities running throughout October include a kids’ craft day every Friday, 10-5 p.m., where craft kits will be available with Garden admission. (A materials fee may apply.)
Additionally, each Sunday in October will feature a Garden Walk and Talk at 2 p.m. with a horticulturist. The walk is free with admission.
The Garden employs a staff of approximately 15 horticulturists who care for the Garden’s 10 acres of current gardens and planting beds, over 20,000 displayed plants, one-mile nature trail, and greenhouse.
Incorporated in 2002, the Garden sits eight miles northwest of downtown Tulsa in the Osage Hills.
Currently, it is nearing completion of the first phase of its master plan.
“Keep an eye out in late September for an exciting announcement pertaining to the Garden’s future developments,” says Hutson.
For additional information on all Autumn in the Garden events and more, visit tulsabotanic.org.