WEST CHICAGO – West Chicago residents eager to celebrate the arrival of spring weather can surround themselves with the bright colors and sweet smells of May flowers at the city’s annual Blooming Fest.
The city of West Chicago, with help from other community groups, will host the 14th annual Blooming Fest on Saturday in the downtown area.
The event is a garden festival featuring a large plant sale from the West Chicago Garden Club, but it also celebrates the town’s cultural arts by featuring many performances and exhibits.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Krista Coltrin, Blooming Fest Committee chair and event coordinator.
From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., guests will be able to spend the day listening to horticultural speakers, seeing theater, musical and dance performances, shopping at plant and craft sales, enjoying coffee with Mayor Ruben Pineda and pancakes with Boy Scout Troop 33, viewing art and history exhibits and participating in various other activities, including a bike parade.
The theme for this year’s event focuses on bicycling to reflect the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission’s latest Community Banner Art Project and a City Museum exhibit, both titled “The (Bi)Cycle of Life.”
Blooming Fest attendees will be able to vote for their favorite banner from 2 to 3 p.m. during an artist reception at the City Museum, 132 Main St. The bicycling exhibit will feature a history of cycling in the West Chicago area and an antique bicycle display.
Children are invited to bring their own bikes to the fest to decorate them from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Fremont Street and then ride in the parade at 1 p.m.
Cycling organizations, including ABD Cycle Club, will be at the fest as well. Cyclist Joe Berenyi, a Paralympic gold medalist, will be present at several activities throughout the day.
Blooming Fest began as a collaboration between the Garden Club and the city’s Development Department to both promote the sale and draw more people to downtown, Coltrin said.
It has since grown over the years from including about eight vendors to about 60, she said.
This year’s Garden Club sale is expected to feature about 2,700 plants, many of them locally grown from members’ gardens, making them well-suited to the soil and weather in the area, said Keith Letsche, club president.
The sale, which started about 1998, tends to attract buyers from all over western DuPage County and sometimes elsewhere in the Chicago area, Letsche said.
It is the principle fundraiser for the club, which participates in civic projects such as maintaining the historic Kruse House’s garden.
At the 2013 fest, nearly all the plants were sold.
“The West Chicago community has been very interested in gardening for a long time,” Letsche said.
Boy Scout Troop 33 again will host its annual pancake breakfast at the fest to help offset the cost of summer camp for the troop.
In the week leading up to Blooming Fest, the scouts will continue their yearly commitment of planting hundreds of flowers in downtown beds.
The troop is happy to do what they can to beautify the downtown and make it more welcoming, and the project also helps the boys to see the benefits of getting their hands a little dirty, since many residents and guests will enjoy the fruits of their labor, Scout Master Steve Usedom said.
“It’s for everybody,” Usedom said.
If you go
What: Blooming Fest
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Downtown West Chicago, primarily Main, Galena and Fremont streets and Turner Court
Cost: Free admission
More info: For a complete event schedule, visit www.westchicago.org.