Irises set to bloom at 16th annual festival
Irises on display at the 2011 Iris Festival. (Photo courtesy of Tom Moyer.)
The Iris Festival, held on Saturday May 12, is an event many locals hope will reinvigorate Bordentown.
Volunteers who have helped plan the day hope to attract hundreds of people with entertainment such as the juried flower competition, the art walk and garden tours. The festival will also feature carriage rides from Bucks County Carriages, acoustic musicians, a strolling magician, al fresco dining and sidewalk tents from local merchants.
The flower competition is in honor of the late Franklin Carr, a Bordentown resident, who was known world-wide for his hybridized irises.
“[He] is just as important as Thomas Paine living here. It’s another secret about Bordentown,” said CJ Mugavero, owner of Artful Deposit.
Carr’s irises can be found all over the world in places like Buckingham Palace, the Vatican and gardens in New Zealand, Newfoundland and Scotland.
The competition will be overseen by an accredited judge from the New Jersey Iris Society. Prizes will be awarded for the best irises.
Jackie Reed, co-organizer of the flower show, says anyone interested in entering their irises in the competition should bring them to the Friends Meeting House by 10:30 a.m. on the day of the festival.
“It’s a beautiful show. Last year they had well over 140 entries, all different varieties,” Mugavero said.
The arwalk promises to be another highlight of the day. Cindy Ridolfino, part-owner of Square Peg Round Hole, has helped book over 20 local artists who will be stationed up and down Farnsworth Avenue. They will display their photography, sculptures and oil and acrylic paintings.
“It’s good for [the artists] to have their art seen, and it’s good for the town,” said Ridolfino. “We’re trying to build the town back up with the art walk.”
Mugavero is equally excited for what the festival will bring to the town.
“This Iris Festival is getting legs again. I think it’s coming back,” she said. “It’s another cultural event and it’s another example of what makes Bordentown City unique.”
The self-guided garden tours, organized by the Bordentown Historical Society, are another attraction that is expected to draw crowds. The tours will take ticket-holders through seven private gardens in town, including the Bonaparte Rock Garden on the Grounds for Divine Word Missionaries. Homeowners will be standing by to answer questions and welcome people onto their properties. Suzanne Wheelock, a trustee of the historical society, said that the tours are a great opportunity to see the gardens up close.
“Peole have the most beautiful gardens,” she said.
Wheelock encourages visitors to also take a look at the iris garden at Hilltop Park.
Tickets and maps for the tours are $10 and can be purchased in front of the Friends Meeting House and at Shoppe 202. Tours are from 2-5 p.m. Farnsworth Avenue will remain open throughout the day.
“We don’t close the streets so that people can sort of happen up on [the festival],” said Mugavero. “We’re hoping for flowers and to have a really nice day."
The festival will be from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. Reservations for al fresco dining can be made at downtownbordentown.com.