By EMILY RAMSEY
JENKS BEAUTIFICATION: Jenks Garden Club members and the Herb and Plant Festival committee members stand at the Jenks Commons event park, at 2nd and A streets. They are, back row, from left, Amy McAble, Mari Migliore, Joe Dutton, Karie Jordan, and Julie Watson, and, front row, from left, Festival Chair Dixie Grahlman, Pat Thomas, and Sherry Bonner.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
On April 15, the Jenks Garden Club’s annual and much anticipated Herb & Plant Festival returns to downtown Jenks for its 21st year.
The free festival opens at 8 a.m., running until 4 p.m., and will feature vendors of herb varieties, vegetables, flowers, shrubs, trees, and all other essentials for the upcoming growing season.
This year’s festival will see its largest number of vendors ever, says event chair and almost-20-year club member Dixie Grahlman. That’s thanks in large part to the club’s festival applications being available online for the first time.
“The response we have received has been really large,” she says. “Our festival draws vendors from Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, from all over.”
For first-time gardeners, or simply individuals with gardening questions, both the Tulsa and the Creek County Master Gardeners will be on hand throughout the day to offer their knowledge and experience.
From 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., members of the Jenks Kiwanis Club will be preparing pancake and sausage breakfasts at First United Methodist Church, 415 E. Main St.
Other food vendors will be located along 2nd Street throughout the event, and shoppers can enjoy a quiet place to relax amid the greenery and benches of the Jenks Commons event park, which recently opened at 2nd and A streets.
Children will have the opportunity to engage in planting experiences with the help of St. James Presbyterian Church and its senior citizen volunteers.
The festival is the annual fundraising event for the Jenks Garden Club. Proceeds from the event fund the club’s annual projects and its $2,000 scholarship that is awarded to a Jenks High School Future Farmers of America student who plans to pursue a horticulture or agricultural sciences degree in college.
The club’s projects revolve around beautification efforts for the city of Jenks.
Club members are responsible for maintenance of flower pots along Main Street and have previously engaged in planting flowers and plants at the Jenks Fire Station No. 2 and at Veterans Park, near Elm and Date streets, where it has also contributed umbrellas and tables and helped with the addition of a new shelter.
“We are all volunteers, and we put on this festival and are active in the garden club because of our love of our community and our love of gardening and the beautification of the city,” says club member Mari Migliore.
Additionally, before the Herb and Plant Festival, the club organizes an annual luncheon for Jenks fire and police officers to thank them for their work in preparation of the festival and their work during the festival.
As for future projects, garden club members plan to dedicate their next project to honoring Bill and Sandra Twilley, long-time garden club members.
Bill founded the Herb and Plant Festival and passed away in January. Sandra passed away a few months earlier.
“Bill’s presence will be felt at the festival,” says Migliore. “He was a dynamic person in the club.”