Local residents have an opportunity to learn firsthand how Gahanna became the herb capital of Ohio.

Local residents have an opportunity to learn firsthand how Gahanna became the herb capital of Ohio.

An open house from 5 to 7 p.m. today (Dec. 6) is scheduled at the Ohio Herb Education Center (OHEC), 110 Mill St.

Jane "Bunnie" Geroux, who led the herb-capital effort, will be the featured speaker at the event celebrating the city's 40th anniversary as herb capital.

Geroux, director of the Ohio Herb Education Foundation, was in the balcony of the Ohio Statehouse when a resolution was passed naming Gahanna the Ohio herb capital in 1972.

The Gahanna Historical Society and a group of women called the Herb Ladies, including Geroux, planted the seed for the city being designated as the herb capital.

She told ThisWeek Gahanna needed an image, and the versatility of herbs is infinite.

During the open house, the 88-year-old will share her memories of Gahanna from the 1960s and 1970s and how she came to be the "herb lady" and proprietor of Culpepers, a business specializing in dried bouquets. She's also the former owner of an antiques shop.

Patty Donahey Geiger, of PDG Communications, said Geroux is one amazing woman and the holiday season of this anniversary year is the perfect time to celebrate her contributions to the Gahanna community.

"One of the best things about Bunnie is that she's never stopped inspiring and contributing," Geiger said. "She achieved getting the state's recognition as herb capital of Ohio in 1972, and 40 years later, she's helping support our initiative to connect the community with the new Herbal Trail.

"I know from hanging out with Bunnie that she's got some great stories, so I'll definitely be at the Ohio Herb Education Center to hear her share her memories," Geiger said.

In addition to Geroux, guests will be treated to complimentary herbal treats and beverages.

Two days later, Santa Claus will welcome children and sample peppermint at the OHEC from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 and 22. He's also scheduled to be at the center from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.

Children will be able to step into Mrs. Claus' kitchen at the OHEC for a special make-and-take craft.