FORT PIERCE — Looking for a fall event that goes beyond the traditional pumpkin patch?
Mark your calendars for the UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie Ag-Extension Fall Festival set for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival will be held at the UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County Office located at 8400 Picos Road in Fort Pierce.
The day’s line-up offers a variety of activities including a mega plant sale, a 4-H petting zoo, youth pumpkin decorating, dozens of craft vendors, a variety of horticultural demonstrations by the UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County Master Gardener Volunteer Program, raffles, sustainable products showcase, food trucks and more. Also scheduled are educational workshops and demonstrations led by UF/IFAS Extension agents and scientists working in a variety of fields including agriculture, horticulture and wildlife conservation.
“This is not your typical fall festival. It promises to be a destination fall event from this day forward that will engage every member of the community,” said Grantly Ricketts, commercial horticulture agent and director of UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County. “There is even a VIP Day on Friday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to noon, for attendees in need of mobility assistance or who just need to take things a little slower.”
The festival stems from a popular plant sale held twice a year and led by the St. Lucie Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) Program. Proceeds from the plant sale fuel scholarships for the program each year.
“Our community has grown exponentially and many new residents here and in our neighboring counties aren’t as familiar with what UF/IFAS Extension has to offer,” said Danielle Shalginewicz, a specialist with the UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County Master Gardener Volunteer Program (MGV). “We decided to take it up a notch and partnered to offer the tri-county community with a showcase of the services and programs that UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin counties and UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center have to offer.”
New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2022 show population growth from the Palm Beaches to the Treasure Coast, even as two thirds of the nation’s counties are seeing declines. The population growth in St. Lucie and neighboring counties prompted organizers to expand the plant sale into a showcase.
Workshops and activities scheduled:
• Creating a spending plan: This workshop is led by Carol Roberts, UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie community development agent.
• Container gardening: This workshop led by Kate Rotindo, UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County urban horticulture agent, is for folks who live in smaller spaces and want to create a small herb or vegetable garden.
• Turf grass: Grantly Ricketts will teach participants about the common turfgrass on the Treasure Coast, when to fertilize, the best mowing height and more.
• Using natural enemies to control invasive plants: This workshop, led by Carey Minteer, assistant professor at Indian River Research and Education Center, will demonstrate how using insects can help control your invasive plants and what insects are available.
• Learn how to propagate a plant and why? This is a demonstration led by Lucie County MGV Pat Kraus.
• Repotting orchids: A demonstration led by St. Lucie County MGV Cathy Brewer
• Sargassum composting: A workshop led by Vincent Encomio, UF/IFAS Extension Martin/St Lucie County Florida Sea Grant Agent.
• How to properly plant a tree and shrub: A demonstration led by Jennifer Pelham director of UF/IFAS Extension Martin County.
• Learn to compost: A workshop led by St. Lucie County MGV Nancy Angermaier.
• Growing sea vegetables for our environment and your health: A workshop led by Megan Davis, research professor, and Amanda Matthews, both from the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.
• Shade gardening for the Florida gardener: A workshop led by Nicki Munroe, UF/IFAS Extension Indian River County environmental horticulture agent.