A youngster bobs for apples at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, south of Ketchum.
Express file photo
ne perk of operating a year-round botanical garden is the opportunity to engage the community regardless of the season.
The Sawtooth Botanical Garden south of Ketchum will host a “reinvented” Fall Festival this Saturday, Sept. 27, from noon to 4 p.m. Associate Director Laura Drake said the vendors and musical acts make for a farmers’ market-type atmosphere that is fun for the whole family. The event is free and there will be food, drinks and items from local vendors for sale.
While the Fall Festival is in its second year of operations, the Sawtooth Botanical Garden has hosted a harvest festival for many years. This new Fall Festival represents a “rebirth,” according to Drake, through an emphasis on community and community vendors.
The five–acre nonprofit garden was founded in 1994 by local gardeners and environmentalists with support from the Global Environmental Project Institute. The layout of the garden features five gardens to represent the five biomes of south-central Idaho: sagebrush steppe, lava rock, alpine, montane and riparian. The grounds also contain a solar greenhouse, children’s garden and an 800-pound bronze Tibetan prayer wheel. The garden’s mission is to nurture native and cultivated plants and educate children and adults about horticulture.
The Saturday festival is being marketed as a family affair. Parents can relax with a beverage from the Sun Valley Brewery and listen to local musicians Mark Mueller, Colin Muldoon and the Mia Edsall Trio.
Mueller is a Texas-born guitar player and singer who released a debut album this summer called “Riches and Rubble.” His music has been described as a medley of folk, rock and country music. Muldoon, an Idaho-based musician who describes his style as “Americana,” had a popular reception playing his folksy rock ‘n’ roll at Velocio café this summer, among other venues.
Lifelong musician Edsall hails from Bellevue and plays a variety of instruments including banjo and guitar. She’ll be accompanied by two other musicians at the festival: Michaela French on bass and guitar, and Tyler May on fiddle and banjo.
There’s also something for every kid, from games to crafting. Youngsters can craft pine-cone bird feeders, go on a garden-wide scavenger hunt, help with the cider press and make butter and leaf prints.
The Wood River Sustainability Center plans to feature local chef talents, whose cuisine will be available for purchase, Drake said.
Other vendors include the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, Black to Life, Footlight Dance Centre, Grandma Honey’s Healing Salve, Alison Higdon, JAM Designs, Mason Cakes, Keefer Reynolds, Sun Valley Ballet School, The Sawtooth Society, Trailing of the Sheep and wood products from Lillian & Charles Wiegard.
The continued revitalization of the Sawtooth Botanical Garden includes a new English-style formal knot garden launched this summer. Reconfigured perennial gardens and a gift shop were added in the summer of 2013.
While the event is free, the garden will accept any donations to go toward continued care of the grounds, as well as ongoing classes and educational programs. The garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
The Sawtooth Botanical Garden is located five miles south of Ketchum, just off state Highway 75.