Successful weekend for Garden Tour and Fair

By Joel Charron

The weather held off long enough for the 26th Annual Garden Tour and Fair to experience another successful weekend.

While over 50 vendors graced the ground of the United Community Credit Union Complex’s Rink A, hundreds of garden enthusiasts travelled the streets of Amherstburg, en route to one of 10 gardens on the tour.

“This has been a great weekend,” said Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society (AFMHS) president Al Giganc.

Switching the Garden Fair to the United Communities Credit Union Complex got rave reviews from both vendors and attendees. The most common compliment was how spacious the fair was.

This is the first time the AFMHS has held the Garden Fair at the UCCUC and has met the public with rave reviews.

“I like this location a whole lot better then the old arena,” said Anna Rosati-Loft. “There is a lot for room for people to browse. It doesn’t feel as if we are walking on top of anyone. The lighting is so much better even the smell is more pleasant.”

Giganc said the AFMHS doesn’t keep track of the number of people that attend the Garden Fair, however they are able to keep track of how many people venture out onto the tour by how many brochures they sell.

Saturday’s numbers were over 200.

Gignac also mentioned that the vendors have been “very satisfied” with this fair.

“The vendors are selling a lot of product and getting their name out there,” said Gignac. “They are quite pleased with the turnout.”

The number of vendors (60) is up slightly from last year (50) and according to the AFMHS president, the Garden Fair has already picked up some new vendors for next year.

“Some businesses walked through and saw what we had and said they wanted to be a part of this next year,” said Gignac.

Giganc added that their raffle has been getting a lot of attention. First prize is a $3,500 package from   Doug Roberts of Aquatic Gardens.

With the threat of rain all weekend, Gignac said they couldn’t have asked for a better situation with the rain coming in the later hours of the evening. He said it gave the public a chance to visit the gardens during the day.

Bob and Dawne LaBell, who’s 1746 Erie Avenue garden drew a steady flow of people both days of the tour.

Bob and Dawne LaBell signed up for the Garden Tour for the first time in 10 years. The couple have been building their garden for 20 years.

“It’s been very busy here,” said Dawne, who also celebrated her 50th birthday over the weekend. “All the compliments have been very humbling.”

Dawne said she and Bob have been building their garden for 20 years. This is the first time in 10 years they decided to be a stop on the Garden Tour.

“Every year they ask us and this year we decided to be a part of it and we’re really glad that we did,” she said.

The LaBell’s garden starts at the base in their front yard and stretches along the right side and features a number of beautiful sculptured bushes and shrubs. The garden continues to the back of the house where it is highlighted with a calming pond and more greenery.

Their garden also features five water displays.

Gignac praised the work of the AFMHS board and its volunteers.

“They’re young energetic, people who are anxious to be there and that makes a world of difference,” he said.

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