The growing celebration of all things herbal took root May 12 at the Herb Day at Creekside Plaza, 117 Mill St., in Gahanna.

Presented by Andrea Taylor, State Farm agent, Herb Day is a one-day, annual celebration of all things herbal for the Gahanna community and the region.

Brooke Sackenheim, recreation coordinator and Ohio Herb Education Center herbalist, said many visitors came to Gahanna to celebrate what can be done with herbs.

She said the popular herb sale featured 4,000 plants and more than 100 varieties of herbs, including varieties of classic favorites rosemary and basil.

Clintonville residents Justin Nigro and Brittany Boulton brought their 20-month-old daughter, Eliana, for the second time to Herb Day.

"I always look for places to find plants," Boulton said. "We come back every year."

She said she appreciates the large variety offered at the event.

Columbus vendor Justin Thatcher, owner of The Cat and the Raven, said he's his own best customer for handmade natural bath and body products.

"I actually had allergies to everything," he said. "I was on steroids for years."

He said he tried all-natural products at the suggestion of a friend.

"Five years of what I was being treated for went away in three weeks," Thatcher said. "I'm an advocate of natural products because it has helped me so much."

He started making his own body products for himself before he started selling them to the public five years ago.

"I make no medical claims," Thatcher said. "For me, I know it's better for your skin. There are six things in it. I know it's going to be better than odd chemicals."

Columbus vendor Wanda Bramble, owner of Just Elayne Naturals, said she was buying as well as selling at Herb Day.

"I'm thankful I'm here among creative people," she said. "I love it. I bought herbs this year. I'm trying to get back to the basics. I'm concerned about what's being put in food."

She said she's planting tomatoes, greens, cabbage, red skin potatoes and sweet potatoes.

When it comes to her business, Bramble said, she started making homemade bath and skincare products for family and friends before she began selling them.

"I realized I love incorporating herbs in all I do," she said.

Becky Kneeland, president of Make Gahanna Yours and wife of Mayor Tom Kneeland, was celebrating Gahanna as a pollinator community at Herb Day.

"We're passing out free milkweed plugs and wildflower seeds to be a better bee-friendly community," she said.

Tom Kneeland said herbs are a great support system for pollinators, and he encourages residents to plant herbs to support bees and pollinator communities everywhere.

In addition to Herb Day, Sackenheim said, the inaugural Herbs in the Alley on May 11 was a huge success.

Presented by Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Herbs in the Alley was hosted in the yard and alley by the Herb Center, 110 Mill St.

The event brought together gardeners, herbalists and plant experts for in-depth conversations about herbs.

Sackenheim said it's expected to return in 2019.

Gahanna's Herb Day has averaged about 2,000 attendees each of the past four years.

The city was designated as the Herb Capital of Ohio by the State Legislature in 1972.

The Ohio Herb Education Center is just east of downtown Columbus and adjacent to Port Columbus International Airport.

The Nafzger-Miller House, in which the herb center is operated, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with the original structure built in 1855 and additions made to the home in 1910.

The center includes a gift shop, a parlor and a kitchen, and is used for classes, parties and meetings.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla