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Arts

Barberton Mum Festival

This northeast Ohio tradition draws a 50,000-person crowd to see its garden's colorful chrysanthemum varieties.

What began as a way to beautify Barberton in 1991 has blossomed into a flower extravaganza at Lake Anna Park. More than 13,000 vibrant chrysanthemums will be bursting into bloom for the city’s Mum Festival, always held the last full weekend in September. This year’s garden design will reflect “Mums Under the Big Top” theme with colorful displays that include an archway made of mums and a floral clock. 

Lisa McLean, Barberton’s parks and recreation director, marvels at how the festival has grown over the years: What was supposed to be a one-time-only celebration now draws 50,000 people.

“We have lots of food and craft vendors, as well as water ski shows on Lake Anna,” says McLean. “We pride ourselves on the fact that there’s something for everybody to do when they come.”

More than 18 varieties of mums are planted in the northeast corner of the 21-acre park that circles the city’s 10-acre, spring-fed lake. Although most people think of mums as reflecting only the colors of autumn, a dozen hues — ranging from lavender to coral to pink — complete the palette at the festival.

More than 6,000 potted mums are grown locally for the event and available for sale to visitors who want to take a bit of fall’s floral beauty home with them. Proceeds help support next year’s festival.

“We put our best foot forward with [the fest],” McLean says. “It’s something the whole community is proud of and has rallied around.” 

This year's festival takes place Sept. 28–29. For more information, visit cityofbarberton.com.

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