Outdoor living focus of Lander’s Garden Expo

Outdoor living focus of Lander’s Garden Expo

By Cowboy State Daily

Outdoor living — whether gardening, enjoying the wonders of your own backyard or traveling the streams and mountains of nature — is the focus of this weekend’s Garden Expo in Lander.

Sponsored by the Popo Agie Conservation District, Saturday’s free Garden Expo is about much more than its name implies, according to Diana Olson, the district’s program assistant.

“It’s titled the Garden Expo because that is what people can remember,” she said. “But we have three target audiences — one is those who enjoy gardening, one is people who just love their backyards … and the third is outdoor recreationists.”

Now in its eighth year, the Expo, held at the Lander Valley High School, usually draws about 1,500 people with its mix of workshops and vendors and special events for kids.

The Expo started as a way for the conservation district to help the community that supports it with tax dollars, Olson said.

“One component that really motivates us is is we are supported by a mill levy,” she said. “So we try very hard to cater to everybody — the rural community and the urban community.”

When the event began, it was aimed at gardeners and people who “love their backyards, the people who love their decks, grills, fairy lights and ponds,” Olson said.

But organizers decided to expand the offerings to non-motorized outdoor recreation in year three.

“We considered the fact that our backyard is the Wind River Mountains, so we brought in the third component, which is outdoor recreation,” she said.

In addition to the more than 50 vendors offering goods, the Expo offers a choice of two workshops every hour. Workshops this year address topics such as attracting hummingbirds, managing lawns, drying foods and raising strawberries.

The event’s keynote speaker is Panayoti Kelaidis, senior curator and director of outreach for the Denver Botanic Garden, who will address “Rethinking Wyoming Landscapes.”

And as if the variety of workshops wasn’t enough, the Expo will feature a Kid’s Corner, petting zoo and horse-drawn wagon rides.

“It’s an extremely fun thing and then we sprinkle the sugar on top,” Olson said.

Concessions will also be available, including “world-famous” roast beef sandwiches served by the Lander Valley Cattle Women and food from Deb’s Bread Wagon.

For more information on this weekend’s Garden Expo, visit the event’s website at http://www.popoagie.org/garden-expo.html.

#TravelTuesday is Cowboy State Daily’s weekly spotlight of events + happening around the state that warrant a little windshield time and fulfill your Wyoming wanderlust.

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