One of the many gems of Mill Valley turns 25 years old this year, and  families and volunteers are throwing one heck of a party to celebrate.

The Mill Valley Children’s Garden, a local gem that officially opened in 1991 after teachers staved off a proposal to pave over open space on Edna Maguire Elementary School‘s campus, is the centerpiece of the annual Garden Faire on April 30, 12-4pm.

The nearly half-acre “outdoor classroom laboratory” for more than 570 students is “like having a living textbook,” says former Edna parent volunteer Lee Budish, who helped transform the Children’s Garden into what it is today. Edna students don’t have to just read about plants, fruits, vegetables and nature in a textbook. You cannot connect with a book the way you do with the land, and the Children’s Garden is so vitally important.”

The Garden Faire serves as the primary fundraiser for the Children’s Garden, as well as outdoor educator Kristy Studnicki, who teaches children botany, ecology, math, language arts, nutrition and cooking, stewardship of the land, community service, and much more. Parent donations as part of the annual PTA donation drive also support the garden.

The Garden Faire is a multi-faceted event, featuring the Edna Maguire Bake-Off, with a panel of celebrity judges choosing the winners, who will score prizes, such as a gift certificate from Vasco Restaurant. It also includes the ever-popular pie-eating contest, with an adult competition and a kids competition (13 and under). 

“Garden fairies” will be on hand to help guests enjoy favorite crafts and games, such as fairy house building, creating potions, wreath making, hunting for golden eggs, nibbling on donut trees and bobbing for apples. Other activities will include face painting, hair extensions, and henna tattoos. DJ Jason will fill the garden with toe-tapping music while an array of eateries will serve up fresh, delicious local food. 

The 411: The Garden Faire at Edna Maguire Elementary School, 80 Lomita Drive, is Sunday, April 30, from 12 to 4 p.m. Parking and admission for the annual fundraiser for the Mill Valley Children’s Garden are free. Tickets for activities and food can be purchased at the event, credit cards accepted – 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Mill Valley Children’s Garden. To enter the bake-off competition, email coleenbyrne@hotmail.com. MORE INFOVolunteers needed!

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