Cover Story up a big portion of those who come to simply enjoy the grounds , and they are also predominantly the people who are here for Music in the Gardens which has quietly ( or not so quietly ) become the ongoing biggest music festival in Dubuque .
“ In a way , we do like keeping it kind of quiet , and the reason is , we ’ re only so big . I ’ m new , but from my understanding , the reason that we don ’ t promote it bigger than we do ( sorry , you ’ re on the cover of 365ink ) is because we ’ re limited on space . Some of those nights , especially the really popular ones like the Dubuque Symphony , can bring several thousand people in , and we have limited parking and they ’ re parking out into the neighborhood . You want everyone to be safe , but you also don ’ t want to overgrow the space and take away from the aesthetics of it all .”
With all that newly on her plate , at least Jenna doesn ’ t have to figure out what kind of music people want to hear .
“ We have someone who we work with to book all of the talent , and she works with us on if we want some of the same people back or new faces , and can we still afford some of those who have been here . And I work on sponsors to help cover the costs to make those shows possible . And , of course , our partnership with the Dubuque Arts Council .”
Another popular event coming up is Sundaes in the Gardens on Sunday , June 19 from 2 to 3:30 p . m . It ’ s also Father ’ s Day . Come out for complimentary ice cream with all the fixings on McKay Plaza , then stick around , explore the park , and find your picnic spot to enjoy Music in the Gardens later that evening .
Any Sunday is actually a great time to come out early before the concert , save your spot , and then enjoy a stroll of the gardens . Hy-Vee is here for the shows with food available in case you came without having dinner first . They ’ ve got you covered . And the Lions Club sells ice cream at the concerts , too .
A lot of people also know the secret about getting their walks in at the Arboretum . The loop that goes around the park is exactly a half mile . So people , especially those who live around the Arboretum , come in an get their laps in daily . During the nice weather months , it could be a nice diversion for those mall walkers to get a new view on their walk . A pretty great resource to just always be there and always be free .
“ A lot of comments we hear from visitors is the stunned realization that it ’ s totally free to come out and visit the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens . They can ’ t believe it ’ s all volunteer run too . They ’ re so impressed and shocked by it . Most venues like ours charge admission to get in , so that makes us unique . Anyone can come , no matter their financial situation .”
Almost all events are free as well or very affordable . The Children ’ s Party , for example , is a whopping dollar to get in . Donations are , of course , vital to the ongoing health and growth of the venue . Individual gifts , endowments , and change dropped in donation buckets all matter . So if you do have the financial flexibility , make sure you show you appreciation for your visit with a donation to one of the collection boxes .
The gift shop features art and crafts from local artisans as well as unique and awesome gift ideas that the ladies who run the shop find when they scour buying conventions , to offer something for everyone . And if you find mom a gift here for her kitchen or her garden , the proceeds help support the initiatives of the Arboretum , so it ’ s a double win .
20 365INK MAGAZINE May 26 – June 8 , 2022 Issue # 409 DUBUQUE365 . COM