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A unique, summer-long, landscape design-oriented celebration of Frederick Law Olmsted's local legacy culminates this weekend in Riverside.
The inaugural FRED (Frederick Law Olmsted in Riverside Education and Design) festival will take place on Saturday, Aug. 18 with events in and around the Riverside Township Hall and Riverside Public Library geared specifically toward the general public.
On Saturday, people who pay a flat $10 registration fee can take up to four "classes" geared toward home gardeners who want to improve the designs and incorporate green principles.
Members of the public participating in the event are also welcome to go on a couple of tours highlighting sustainable landscape practices, including a tour of Riverside's green parking lot on East Burlington Street and a tour of Riverside homes where landscape contractors will be in the process of creating drought-resistant rain gardens, which also serve as localized storm water management tools.
The event will also feature a perennial plant "divide and swap" on the morning of Aug. 18. Participants are asked to bring bagged and labeled perennials to the FRED registration area in front of the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road, at 8:30 a.m. and pick up their exchange plants later in the day. The first 40 people will get a free rosemary plant.
The hour-long classes, which will be held between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. inside the township hall and at the Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road, will cover such topics as garden maintenance, curb appeal, tips for the mature garden and gardener, trees and shrubs in design and garden and home style. The classes will be taught by local landscape designers.
In addition to the classes, members of the public can attend a free roundtable panel discussion from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the township hall titled "Olmsted's Design Lessons for Today," featuring Ed Uhlir, executive director at Millennium Park Inc.; Ferhat Zarin, of Gingko Planning and Design Inc.; Beth White, Chicago area office director for the Trust for Public Lands; and Randy Blankenhorn, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).
FRED will wrap up in the parking lot between the township hall and library, with the announcement of the winners of a silent auction of planters that have been on display all summer around downtown Riverside as part of FRED's Planters on Parade. Bids will be taken throughout the day. Anyone, whether registered for the event or not, is eligible to place bids on the planters.
And at around 3:30 p.m., FRED organizers will announce the winner of the Riverside Gateway design project. Five finalists were chosen in May. Their designs for the intersection of First Avenue and Forest/Ridgewood were on display in the library in July and members of the public were able to vote for their favorite.