Berkshire Botanical Garden hosts festival that patrons really dig

(Emily Thurlow) Elizabeth Leonard of Pittsfield has been an Herb Associate for Stockbridge-based nonprofit Berkshire Botanical Garden for more than 15 years.

STOCKBRIDGE — This weekend, a 20-acre garden will be transformed into a festival with more than 100 food and craft vendors celebrating the autumnal season.
What started as a small fundraising event for Berkshire Botanical Gardens has evolved into an affair that took 10 months to plan, said Dana Audia, director of special events for the nonprofit organization. Now in its 85th season, Berkshire Botanical Garden’s annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13 will feature more than 100 food and craft vendors.
“It’s become our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Audia. “We fill every square foot of our property with vendors and activities. This year, weather permitting, we’re expecting between 12,000 and 15,000 visitors over the course of two days.”
In preparation for the event, hundreds of volunteers have been coordinated to set up and staff the various events and activities throughout the weekend. Among those that have been helping ready the property are the garden’s Herb Associates. The group of roughly 20 volunteers create products made from herbs grown at Berkshire Botanical Gardens that support the horticultural and educational programs since 1957.
On Tuesday, volunteers like Elizabeth Leonard of Pittsfield were cutting back plants and pulling weeds in the herb garden. She joined the group more than 15 years ago. She was recruited by her mother who had participated with the group for around three decades.
Members meet and work every Tuesday beginning in mid-April to October.
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