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The Barberton Mum Festival

You would probably have to go all the way to Japan to see a more dazzling display of 13,000 chrysanthemums producing more than a million mum blooms that are displayed around Barberton, Ohio’s Lake Anna Park during the fall.

In 1991, in anticipation of the City’s centennial celebration, the Centennial Mum Gardens were planted at the northeast corner of Lake Anna Park. Yoder Brothers, Inc. (now Aris Horticulture, Inc.) donated 15,000 chrysanthemum cuttings which created a rainbow of color the last full weekend of September for all to enjoy.

A two-day festival was organized in conjunction with the blooming of the mums. What began as a single activity will mark its 30th year in September, 2020. Annual attendance figures reach 50,000.

The Mum Festival celebrates the beauty of mums, showcases the City of Barberton and provides a unique, upscale event which is fun for the whole family. For this one weekend each year, Barberton could change its nickname from the “Magic City” to the “Chrysanthemum City.”

In 1957 the chrysanthemum was declared the official city flower. The City of Barberton, Aris Horticulture, Inc., and the Barberton Community Foundation are the major sponsors of this annual event.

The Barberton Mum Festival combines a unique blend of public and private support. The event is funded by the City of Barberton and private donations. Barberton, Ohio is the worldwide corporate headquarters to Aris Horticulture (formerly Yoder Brothers Inc.) which has grown to be a world leader in flowering research and breeding.

The company reorganized as Aris in 2008, with the sale of its mum and aster product lines and continues to evolve within the horticulture industry with new varieties and starter plants of many kinds.

The Mum Festival recognizes the uniqueness of the chrysanthemum to Barberton, Ohio and highlights the role of Aris in the history of the city. The garden mums are planted along the eastern side of the city’s 21-acre Lake Anna Park bordering Third Street in downtown Barberton. Lake Anna was named after the daughter of Ohio Columbus Barber, Barberton’s town founder, who made Lake Anna the center of the city.

Late in September, the northeast corner of Lake Anna Park becomes ablaze in a rainbow of color as the mums peak to full bloom. The climax of this floral display is the Mum Festival, held the last full weekend of September.

The mum gardens are planted to form colorful collage displays. In addition to the mum beds, the display features a floral clock, garden mum hanging baskets, and a floral arch created with garden mums. Eight-inch potted garden mums in a variety of colors are also offered for sale.

The dazzling floral display provides a brilliant backdrop for a weekend filled with free family entertainment, arts and crafts, gardening tips, food, and sand sculpting. The 2019 festival entertainment included chalk art, the Detroit Circus, musical entertainment, and water ski shows on Lake Anna featuring the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Show Team.

For children, the Mum Festival features Kid’s Place, a children’s activity area which includes the Akron Zoo, chalk art, balloon art, craft projects, sand boxes, a musical garden, and Touch a Truck area.

Volunteers are the backbone of the festival. Mum Fest requires hundreds of hours of volunteer effort. In addition to a small core group of volunteers who work year-round to plan Mum Fest, another 150 volunteers are needed the weekend of the festival. Volunteers represent a wide spectrum of the Barberton community. Numerous groups, organizations and individuals within the community combine volunteer efforts to make the celebration of flowers possible.

The mum gardens are located at the northeast corner of Lake Anna Park located at 615 W Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio. This fall the weekend festival, originally scheduled for September 26 and 27, has been cancelled as a result of the Coronovirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The mum gardens and mum arch, however, will still be on display for the public to enjoy. Potted mums will also be sold September 23 to 27. Call 330.861.7135 for more information.

The Barberton Mum Festival

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