Drawn by the allure of history and the fragrance drifting from green houses overflowing with fresh flower, hundreds were drawn to Bakersfield College on April 20 for its eighth annual Gardenfest.
The Garden Fest was as much a celebration of BC as it is a celebration for the community college’s Horticulture department.
“It was designed to be an open house for the agriculture department but it turned into an open house for the whole school,” said Lindsay Ono, an environmental horticulture professor at BC.
While the hundreds of plants showcased BC’s agriculture and horticulture departments, it was a single tree that was the focal point of the celebration. For the last seven months volunteers have planted 99 trees on the BC campus, according to Amber Chiang, marketing director at BC. During Garden Fest the 100th tree, an old age oak, was planted on campus.
“Bakersfield College is a terrific place and we want it to continue for another 100 years,” said mayor Harvey Hall before grabbing a golden shovel to help plant the tree.
Hall wasn’t the only person getting their hands dirty. Sally Sterns, horticultural technician at BC and Garden Fest’s planner, helped shovel the oak into the ground as well.
Although the tree planting was the focus of much of the event, Sterns said, “The most satisfying part of Garden Fest for me is that it is an event that is free to the public. Anyone can come and attend because the price of admission doesn’t keep people away. It’s free to the public so they can come and spend the day in a family friendly event. . .They can come and have a really good time.
Summer Bakers, a BC student, had a similar sentiment. “It’s great, relaxing. I’ve liked all the vendors and the jump houses, for my son.”
The event has drawn thousands of attendees in the past according to Sterns. “Ono and I started Gardenfest eight years ago. We had five vendors and 75 people came and it’s grown over eight years into what you see now: over two acres of vendors and thousands of people who come through here over the course of the day.”
The event also commemorated BC’s 100 years of existence by selling 100 red-and-white rose bushes.
Alongside the plants attendees were also treated to seminars on everything from installing a waterfall to learning how to cook a better steak on their backyard grill with Pat Coyle, head of BC’s food and nutrition department.
The event had professionals providing information on pet care, outdoor leisure, cooking, arts and crafts and environmentally-friendly home improvement.
Over 150 vendors displayed and sold plant life, gardening equipment, outdoor furniture and landscaping accessories at the event, according to Chiang.
Proceeds raised by the event will benefit the BC horticulture department.