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Spring into gardening at Franklin Square

Franklin Square will host its 17th annual Spring Garden Festival Saturday, April 24, with the Knox County Council of Garden Clubs — for those with green and black thumbs alike.

“It’s intended to be a real sidewalk event. It’s a nice event for families. It’s fun,” Barbara Ashdown, Franklin Square Merchant’s Association spokesperson, said.

“We’re supporting the Dogwood Arts Festival’s intent of gardening … it can be a real community event,” she added.

Franklin Square will play host to a variety of gardeners, vendors and crafters at the Festival, which is a featured event of the 2010 Dogwood Arts Festival.

Local vendors will sell annuals, perennials, native plants and herbs, along with favorite flowers such as daylilies.

“The vendors will have various plants: some different kinds of plants than you might normally find,” Ashdown said.

Those vendors include local and East Tennessee nurseries and growers.

Garden-related arts and crafters also will be on hand, as will master gardeners and gardening services.

“There will be some garden art … Racheff Gardens will be selling gloves and tools. We also have sidewalk sales and merchandise discounts in the shops,” Ashdown said.

New to the festival this year is a display of student artwork from Cedar Bluff Middle School, Christian Academy of Knoxville and Webb School of Knoxville.

“They will be showing art in four different locations. … We wanted to promote the art in the schools,” Ashdown said.

“In the future, we probably will try to get some more schools,” she added.

The displays will feature artwork from all different media, including painting, photography, sculpture, pottery and drawing.

UT Federal Credit Union and Smart Toys and Books will host children’s activities, including “creating bug jars” and “coloring T-shirts.”

Those crafts will be sold for nominal fees, most likely around $3, Ashdown said, with proceeds benefiting Knox County Council’s 21 area garden clubs.

Wandering the Square, “we are going to have costume characters: ladybugs and flowers,” she added.

In addition, the Pokey Little Puppy will make an appearance at Smart Toys and Books, as will BuzzBee with B97.5 from 9 a.m. to noon.

After noon, the entertainment will switch to a soft jazz band. Refreshments from Chop House and other vendors will be on both the east and west sides of the Square.

The Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Shops at Franklin Square, 9700 Kingston Pike. Donations and proceeds from certain sales at the event will benefit Knox County Council’s 21 area garden clubs.

“This is really a fundraiser for the garden clubs, and then it goes into their projects,” Ashdown said.

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