Georgeson Birthday Bash 2019

Capri Island, 7, creates a large bubble during the Georgeson Botanical Garden Birthday Bash and Mud Day Sunday afternoon, June 23, 2019. The garden was named after Charles C. Georgeson, a 19th century agronomist who was sent to Alaska in order to foster Northern farming. Eric Engman/News-Miner

Fairbanks area families braved overcast skies and intermittent drizzles to help celebrate the birthday of agricultural scientist Charles Georgeson at the third annual Georgeson Botanical Gardens Birthday Bash. 

Children of all ages appeared to be unfazed by the impending rain clouds blowing toward the botanical gardens, located on the University of Alaska campus, Sunday afternoon as they explored the children’s garden and participated in activities throughout the grounds in mud boots and raincoats. 

Elizabeth Kettle, 4, had a purple mermaid painted across her forehead, a work of art she acquired at the face painting station located along the gravel walkway on the way to the Babula Children’s Garden. Not surprisingly, Kettle said her favorite activity was the face painting table. 

Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Kettle, said she appreciated the variety of activities and accessibility for kids of all ages. 

“This is our first year coming to this. We just heard about it through friends,” she said. “But it’s great; it’s really accessible for little ones, and there’s so much going on.”

The Kettle family had explored the children’s garden and were on their way to indulge in some birthday cake provided by event coordinators. Elizabeth’s younger sister Lydia, 2, was already ahead of the group, walking hand-in-hand with her father, eyes pointed toward the cake.

Other activities included finger painting, law games, music provided by local band The Warblers and a massive mud pit for kids to play in with a trusty hose set up near by for a post wallow clean off. 

Novella Knight, 4, appeared particularly entranced in the bubble station. 

Novella’s mother, Rebecca, stood by a stroller that carried Novella’s younger brother Colton, 1.

Knight said this was the family’s first year attending the birthday bash but that they enjoy coming to the garden throughout the summer. 

“It’s just so relaxing, and I feel like the kids can run around and it’s safe,” she said. “We participate in the rock painting in the garden. So we’ll paint rocks and hide them for other kids to find, and then sometimes we find other rocks that people hide for us to find. It’s really fun.”

Georgeson Birthday Bash 2019

Christina Eller splashes face first into a mud puddle pit at the end of a slip and slide run during the Georgeson Botanical Garden Birthday Bash and Mud Day Sunday afternoon, June 23, 2019. Eller, who was at the event with her friend Liberty Hoekstra and their kids, wasn't planning on taking a turn on the mud pit slide but when they saw it she said "Let's go do this!" The garden was named after Charles C. Georgeson, a 19th century agronomist who was sent to Alaska in order to foster Northern farming. Eric Engman/News-Miner

Novella was the first child to dig into the birthday cake before stopping by the bubble booth on the way to the mud pit. 

Activities began at noon Sunday and lasted until 3 p.m. 

Garden Program Coordinator Matthew Carrick said the event is a hit each year with kids and parents alike enjoying the festivities. 

The event celebrated the 168th birthday of Charles Georgeson, a Danish agronomist who was sent to Alaska in the early 19th century to explore agriculture possibilities. 

“His birthday is June 26 so this is to celebrate him,” Carrick said. “I think people like the activities and the mud especially, plus it’s a great way to inform people about the history of the experimental farm and Georgeson himself.”

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMPolitics.

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