By RAEGAN DOUGHARTY
JENKS GARDEN CLUB: Jenks Garden Club members have been busy preparing for the club’s 22nd annual Jenks Herb and Plant Festival, to be held along Jenks’ Main Street, April 28, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. From left are Garden Club members and event organizers Mari Migliore, Julie Watson, Sherry Bonner, Marilee Robinson, Dixie Grahlman, and Ginny Greek.
Jenks District Gazette photo
The Jenks Garden Club will host its 22nd annual Jenks Herb and Plant Festival on April 28, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., filling Main Street with greenery to attract local gardeners and tourists alike.
The festival serves as the garden club’s primary fundraising event each year. Proceeds go toward scholarships and community beautification projects.
Jenks Garden Club hosts the event, and various volunteer groups work to make the festival possible, including volunteers from the Jenks First Baptist Church, Boy Scouts, Jenks High School Future Farmers of America and others.
Jenks Garden Club member and publicist Mari Migliore says the festival attracts visitors from all over Oklahoma and beyond as well as gardeners of all skill levels and ages.
The festival started in 1996 in a Jenks city parking lot with less than a dozen vendors. With the help of social media and the club’s website, many new vendors have been able to connect with the Jenks Garden Club, and the 2018 festival will feature over 100 booths.
Vendors will be selling herbs, vegetables, shrubs, flowers, trees, cacti and garden-related items. Migliore says some of the festival’s vendors are organic gardeners, selling strictly organic products. “These are not things that are shipped in from Oregon,” Migliore says. “These are things that you know are grown in this area and that are going to do well in this area.”
In addition to plants and herbs, though, deck pillows and ceramic garden art, wooden swings and benches have all been part of the festival’s offerings in past years, and many of these items will return this year.
Festival-style foods will also be available from various vendors along Main Street. Wine vendors will also be present, which Migliore says is a fairly new addition to the festival.
The event is free to the public, but vendors pay a flat fee to secure a booth for their wares. Although some festivals charge vendors for booth space and take a percentage of their sales, the Jenks Herb and Plant Festival does not, says Migliore.
The club traditionally awards one scholarship per year to a Jenks High School senior who plans to pursue a horticulture major. However, last year, the Garden Club awarded a second scholarship in honor of the club’s founder, Bill Twilley, who died in January 2017, says Migliore.
“This will be our second festival without him,” she continues. “He is greatly missed.”
An aspect that Migliore says is unique to the Jenks festival is that two master gardener groups, the Creek and the Tulsa County Master Gardeners, will be present to talk to gardening enthusiasts and to give tips.
Beyond gardening, the festival will provide activities for the whole family, with the return of the children’s First Planting Experience booth and the Kiwanis pancake breakfast, to be available 7-10 a.m at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street. The Tulsa Garden Railroad Club will be on hand to provide a look at garden trains moving on real tracks. A Jenks fire truck will be present at the festival for children to enjoy as well. Migliore says benches will line the streets, giving guests a place to sit and relax.
Shoppers will be able to use the “Drop and Shop” option, which allows them to drop off items they have purchased while they continue to shop. Guests can find this offering at the Jenks Garden Club booth, to be located at 2nd and Main streets. Club members will also be able to provide guests with directions to find particular vendors and will serve as a hub for the day’s activities.
“We’re people-friendly, and we have all the facilities for a fun day,” Migliore says. “The booths line Main Street so there’s lots of room for people to walk and wander.”
For updates on the garden club’s activity and festival information, visit facebook.com/jenksgardenclub.