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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Gardeners delight on May 6

URI to host 16th annual Spring Festival at new location
Image result for URI Spring Festival

The University of Rhode Island’s 16th annual Spring Festival, featuring plant sales, gardening workshops, children’s activities and educational exhibits, will be held Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

This year’s event will be held at a new location – the URI Botanical Gardens and the adjacent Fine Arts Center parking area.

“Construction materials for the new College of Engineering building are being stored at our previous festival location at East Farm, so we shifted locations this year, and we think we’ve found the perfect spot,” said Kate Venturini of the URI Cooperative Extension and one of the event organizers. 

“Parking and traffic have been a challenge in the past, but now that we’re on the main campus, parking will be plentiful and traffic minimal. Also, we’ll be able to provide tours of the campus gardens.”

The spring festival was started in 2002 by a group of URI Master Gardeners, and it annually draws thousands of visitors looking for gardening advice and inspiration, family activities and food and entertainment.

A wide variety of plants will be on sale, including vegetables and ornamentals from the URI Master Gardener Program, native plants from the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, medicinal plants from the URI Pharmacy program, and tropicals and succulents from the URI Horticulture Club.

Workshops and demonstrations will be offered throughout the day, including programs on container gardening and “square foot gardening,” and free seeds will be distributed. 

Electronics recycling company Indie Cycle will be available to recycle used computers, televisions, monitors and other electronics, and the South Kingstown Farmers Market will be in operation during the event as well.

Tours will be offered of the Botanical Gardens – a showcase of sustainable plants and sustainable landscaping practices – as well as the nearby Horridge Conservatory, Everett P. Christopher Arboretum, and Heber Youngken Medicinal Garden.

The Children’s Zone activities, including solar car racing and wind turbine construction, will be provided by the URI Energy Fellows and educators from the Learning Landscape program, and live entertainment and raffles will add to the fun. 

Gardening advice can be obtained at the Ask a Master Gardener booth, while free pH soil testing will be available for those who bring soil samples from home.

Live music will be provided by the URI Jazz Combo and Los Duderinos, and local food trucks will be on hand for snacking.

“The event will happen rain or shine, so come prepared,” added Venturini.

The URI Botanical Gardens are located at the corner of Upper College Road and East Alumni Avenue on the Kingston Campus. Parking and admission are free. For additional information,