An Herbal Affair

Booths are set up on both sides of the street around the town triangle.

This was the 22nd annual Herbal Affair at Sand Springs, OK, which is always held the 3rd Saturday in April. This year it was chilly, but thankfully, not raining. Josh, Barbara, Adam and I all went, with Josh and Barbara staying with our friends, Tom and Sue Stees in Tulsa. We always have a booth, taking along Herbal Nail Fungus Soak, my books and assorted other things to sell.

One of the great things about this event, and one of the many reasons vendors happily come back every year, is the complimentary dinner the festival hosts provide the night before. Every year, the volunteers who organize and work the Herbal Affair, cook up a bunch of great food and invite all us vendor-sorts for dinner. It's always a welcome event, many of us having driven many hours to set up our booths. The food is always great, with all sorts of salads, sandwiches, beverages and desserts. It shows their appreciation for our being there, and it's also a great opportunity to get to visit with people we see only once a year.

On Friday night, while most of us were sleeping, strong winds blew through Oklahoma. Some of the vendors who'd set up their tents, and secured them down low over their goods, discovered on Saturday that the tents had taken flight, tumbling along down the street and breaking apart. It was sad to see, but everyone picked up and moved on, selling their produce or plants even without the tents.

The festival is a pretty impressive event, with around 30,000 people showing up this year. One of the local churches offers free plant sitting, so that shoppers can drop off their plants while they shop for more.

It's always remarkable how many people bring their dogs to this event. Women carrying little cuddle-dogs in their arms, men leading giant horse-like pets, small dogs on leashes dodging feet in the crowd. With the 30,000 people attending, I'm guessing there were about 2,000 dogs in attendance, as well!

People come for the plants and while Mr. Tomato Man  (who's there every year) does a very brisk business, selling a couple thousand heirloom tomato plants, it's the herb folks that are the primary focus. This festival is fully an herb festival. The Boy Scouts sell drinks (out of a canoe filled with ice) but it's either root beer - herbal based, or water. The food vendors must include herbs in their foods, as well. There's a big outdoor food court and it's a great way to visit with other shoppers and see what plants you might have missed.

The 5 women who started this festival 22 years ago, including the late Ruth Leib and Sandi Bylerly, visited my Herb Day in May back when I was still having a festival at Long Creek Herb Farm. They took notes, asked questions and inquired if I minded if they borrowed some of my ideas for their festival. I was pleased to know another festival was forming, as mine had outgrown its space. They took some simple ideas and ran with them and their festival is one of the best herb festivals anywhere!

People not only bring their pets, they bring their wagons, as well, and fill them several times with their purchases. By the end of the day, the plant booths are pretty empty with little left to choose from. Even though the festival opens at 9:00 a.m., people start arriving even before we have our booths set up, wanting to buy things at 8:00. 

People bring wagons of all kinds to haul around their purchases.

Everything sold has to relate to the garden or herbs. That includes old garden antiques, painted garden furniture, trellises, even worm tea, produced by kids at the local grade school and sold to fund school projects.

Worm tea, from the children's worm farm is excellent fertilizer.

Rustic furniture made from twigs, along with trellises and everything else for the garden, could be found at Sand Springs.
 And last but not least, in the spirit of herbs, check out my recipe this week, for Lavender Cookies that I served to Texas visitors yesterday, on my Recipes Blog.
Lavender Cookies, so good you want more!

Happy Gardening!

1 comment:

Jessy Rushing said...

Hi Jim, It's Jessy - your Texas visitor. I can attest to the fabulosity of these cookies - I'm printing the recipe right now for my herb club to taste!