Got spring fever?

The annual two-day festival in downtown Winter Garden will offer everything related to the lawn and garden.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Spring Fever in the Garden, the area’s largest flower and plant sale, is taking place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 8, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 9, along Plant Street and the side streets of downtown Winter Garden.

The Bloom & Grow Garden Society is hosting its 17th annual springtime event, which is being dedicated to Vera Carter, a former District 1 Orange County commissioner and founding member of Bloom & Grow. Her memorabilia will be set up at Heller Hall in the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation’s History Research and Education Center.

The event includes the sidewalk chalk art contest, garden-inspired and garden-related vendors, entertainment, a silent auction and a fun Kidzone. The Natural Market will have vendors selling natural and organic items. The Butafrog butterfly tent will be set up for visitors to interact with live butterflies.

A plant pick-up point will be located at Main and Smith streets for buyers to gather their items after they have finishing shopping.



Give Ron Hawkins some watercolors or acrylic paints, a pen, charcoal or chalk. Provide a surface on which to create: canvas, sidewalks, even Adirondack chairs. And suggest a subject: flora and fauna, people and places. In no time, he will present a finished piece of art, something he’s been doing since he was 3.

Hawkins is among the people creating art from sticks of chalk during the Chalkin’ It Up sidewalk chalk art contest, taking place Saturday morning during the Bloom & Grow Garden Society’s 17th annual Spring Fever in the Garden.

The Orlando resident and lifelong artist has participated in the Winter Garden contest every year but one. He is partial to birds and aquatic life.

Ron Hawkins will be back to create another chalk art design.
Ron Hawkins will be back to create another chalk art design.

One year he created a three-dimensional piece with birds; he will do another 3-D piece this Saturday featuring a tri-colored heron standing in a pond surrounded by daffodils.

“We’re considered a performance art,” Hawkins said of chalk artists. “People always see artwork, but they see the finished product and they don’t really see what goes into creating the artwork. I’ve had a three-day (chalk) project before, and I’ve had people come and watch every day.”

He and an artist friend refer to it as zen art.

“We start with a blank piece of concrete, we create a piece, and then nature takes it back to nothing,” he said.

Hawkins has been participating in chalk art contests since 1995 and has won several awards.

Cash prizes totaling $2,100 will be awarded to the best chalk artists in this popular sidewalk art contest. Artists of all ages are invited to create a nature-related image within a six- by six-foot square in front of City Hall. Judging takes place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

This is sponsored by Florida Hospital. For information, contact Brenda Knowles (407) 496-3428 or [email protected]



Entertainment takes place in front of City Hall. Scheduled to perform on Saturday are The Sandy Back Porch Band (9:30 to 11 a.m.), Layla Brisbois (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), Windermere Prep Jazz Band and Wren 5 Vocal Ensemble (1 to 2 p.m.), Molly Holton (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.) and juggler Bruce Sarafian (3:45 to 4:15 p.m.).

Sunday performers are Sarafian (11 a.m. to noon) and Blake Guyre (1 to 3:30 p.m.).

Guests walking along Plant Street can also hear Andy and Sandra Burr (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday) and Mike Petrovich (noon to 3 p.m. Sunday).


Mike Armbruster's birdhouse will be available in the silent auction.
Mike Armbruster's birdhouse will be available in the silent auction.
Marian Wagster painted a Winter Garden scene on a rain barrel included in the silent auction.
Marian Wagster painted a Winter Garden scene on a rain barrel included in the silent auction.


The silent auction and raffles are combined this year and will be located in the WGHF’s Heller Hall. The silent auction includes a vintage bicycle, three rain barrels, a guitar, bird house, artwork and several gift baskets.

The raffle consists of a package of gift cards from close to 20 restaurants worth $500, and tickets are a suggested donation of $1.



The Kidzone has something for all ages. Winter Garden Art Association volunteers will be creating murals with the community on Saturday, and everyone is invited to add their mark. This area also includes a make-and-take Lowe’s workshop project, flower painting, safety demonstrations, fencing lessons and visits from the Winter Garden Squeeze baseball team and Orlando Soccer Club.



All those gardening, lawn and tree questions you have can be answered at the “Ask the Expert” area, which consists of demonstrations and question-and-answer opportunities. On Saturday: 9 to 11 a.m., Lawn Challenges and Solutions with Ed Thralls, UF-Orange County Extension; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Backyard Beekeeping with Amy Vu, OF Orange County IFAS Extension; 1 to 3 p.m., Five Easy Vegetables to Grow with Robert Bowden of Harry P. Leu Gardens; 3 to 5 p.m., Mini Gardening Fairy Gardens with Kathy and Ray Roberts, owners of Central Florida Ferns and Foliage.

On Sunday: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Native Plants to Use in Your Garden with Kelly Greer, UF/IFAS Orange County Extension agent; 1 to 3 p.m., Worst Weeds of Florida and their Control with Tom MacCubbin, UF Extension agent emeritus.


Contact Amy Quesinberry at [email protected]


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