Central Ohio residents could choose from more than 100 varieties of herbs during the annual Herb Day celebration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at Gahanna's Creekside.
Presented by Mockingbird Meadows Herbal Health Farm, organizers are planning a day full of guest speakers, an herb sale and vendors for the annual Mother's Day weekend event at Creekside and the Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St., Gahanna.
Creekside's upper plaza will feature more than 100 varieties of herbs and 3,000 plants, with sales supporting the Ohio Herb Education Center.
The annual festival is free and will feature the herb information station, as well as herbal experts, three keynote speakers and herbal demonstrations on the plaza, a medicinal herb walk around Creekside Park and a preview to the Gahanna Learning Gardens in conjunction with Gahanna-Jefferson elementary schools.
"Guests can expect to learn something new from one of our three speakers or three demonstrations," said Brooke Sackenheim, herb center coordinator.
Dawn Combs, representing Mockingbird Meadows Herbal Health Farm, will discuss native medicinal herbs that could be cultivated in residential backyards and what could be done with them. She also will demonstrate herbal no-bake cookies, candies and other easy-to-make herbal snacks.
"And we welcome back Debra Knapke, the Garden Sage, who will be speaking about herbs with bad reputations," Sackenheim said. "Erika Galentin from United Plant Savers will also lead an herb walk. "United Plant Savers' mission is to protect native medicinal plants. This great organization is located in southern Ohio, and we are really happy to have them at Herb Day."
Local chef Mark Kopp, of the Golf Depot in Gahanna, will demonstrate ways to incorporate herbs into everyday cooking. Throughout his demo, titled Lavender, Tarragon and Thyme: Better Living through Cooking with Fresh Herbs, Kopp will talk about the many health benefits herbs bring to dishes.
He was the winner of the 2013 Taste of Gahanna Chefs' Challenge and is a former chef at the Worthington Inn, Lindey's and North Star restaurants.
"For those who have always been interested in creative ways to use herbs, Janell Baran from Blue Owl Emporium Herb Farm will be showing people how to make whisk brooms from leftover stems of lavender and other herbs," Sackenheim said. "Herb Day is a unique event to Gahanna and to central Ohio. People can expect a full day of learning something new about herbs.
"Our mission at the Ohio Herb Education Center is to be a resource to all Gahanna residents, as well as educate people on the many uses of herbs. Herb Day is one way that we celebrate all things herbal."
Entertainment on the Rotary stage will include Casey Redmond, Gahanna-Jefferson students and the Shaw Brothers.
The Gahanna Historical Society's Christy Evans said her would participate by opening museums and hosting activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"We will have some fun facts about a hundred years ago," she said. "For example, Mother's Day became a U.S. holiday in 1914, and as luck would have it, Herb Day is on Mother's Day weekend."
The group will offer a craft children could make for their mothers.
A Ford Model T will be on site to commemorate Henry Ford and his declaration of a $5 work day in 1914.
"The afternoon is about showcasing the museums, providing an opportunity to socialize with the community, hang out in the beautiful gardens and, of course, ice cream," Evans said.
An ice cream social is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on South High Street.
During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, Gahanna residents became well-known for the quality and quantity of their herbs, and local residents eventually began to call Gahanna the herb capital of Ohio.
Gahanna resident Bunnie 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.
To celebrate its past and its continuing use of herbs, the city holds the Gahanna Herb Day and Gahanna Herb Festival every May.
The city also has dedicated an entire park, known as the Geroux Herb Garden, to growing herbs.