OWASCO — A movie-themed Va Va Bloom Garden Show and Farmers Market set new attendance and sale records at Dickman Farms Greenhouses & Garden Center in Owasco this weekend.
The Hollywood-inspired theme, "The Color of Va Va Bloom," was "all about the movies," said Stephanie Whitehouse, retail general manager at Dickman Farms, last week. The garden center was transformed into a movie theater with red carpet, faux paparazzi, and movie-genre-themed displays highlighting the latest trends for gardening. Spotlights in each display drew attention to different "Oscar-winners," including plants and gardening tools.
In addition to the garden show, workshops, greenhouse tours, seminars, a food truck caravan and live music events took place throughout the weekend. Sunday afternoon, Mere Mortals played live music in the greenhouse where over 50 local vendors participated in the farmers market.
A first-year vendor, Gina Lynch, owner of Udderly Simple — selling goat milk soaps and lotions — said that Va Va Bloom is like "spring inside." Lynch said she was excited to be invited to join the farmers market at this year's festival because it's hard to get into.
"This has probably been the best festival for me," Lynch said.
Other vendors also agreed that this year has been good for business.
"Yesterday was incredible," said Julia Thomas, a jewelry maker and co-owner of Eclectic Selections. Va Va Bloom "is our favorite show, one we would not miss."
Another Va Va Bloom vendor newcomer, the Potatoes and Molasses food truck, owned by Paul and Kendra Porter, said the festival was "wonderful."
Kendra and Paul began their farm-to-food-truck business about one year ago, after they found it a struggle to find food their daughter could eat at other festivals.
"Most of our food is certified organic," Kendra said. She added that it's because nearly all of the food comes from their certified organic farm, Black Brook Organic Farm, and they've embraced the farm-to-table model — only they do it with a food truck. The Porters' food truck also always offers gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, and meat options to accommodate different dietary needs and preferences.
Even though they brought far more food than they anticipated needing, Kendra said they sold out both days of the festival.
"We've found there is a market for this," Paul said after expressing they initially had some concerns since their prices are a bit higher than an average food truck.
Vendors, however, weren't the only ones who did well over the weekend.
Whitehouse said Va Va Bloom set a new record for attendance and sales on Saturday.
"It's been great," Whitehouse said on Sunday. "People are so stir-crazy and ready for spring that they're coming out in droves. ... It's a little taste of spring in paradise.
"Va Va is always our biggest event and this year has been our best so far up-to-date," Whitehouse said. "The team has been fabulous."
"It's been a blast," said Rebecca Falk, Dickman Farms staff. "I think honestly the weather helped," she added, saying that since it wasn't nice outside perhaps more people wanted to come and be in the lush space and get out to do something fun.
Whitehouse also added that she observed people loving the theme, saying she watched guests interact with the vignettes and take selfies with the genre-themed displays, just as she'd hoped.
"Fun was had by all," she laughed.