| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    SUSSEX COUNTY-At the time of year when just about everyone has had it with winter, along comes Springfest to give county residents the opportunity to bask in the color and splendor of the spring and summer gardens that the five-day event showcases. Bad weather on Friday kept the numbers down, but Saturday's bright sunshine brought out the crowds to the Sussex County Fair Grounds. Visitors strolled through the lush garden displays and from vender to vender, gathering information and stopping to buy plants and garden-related merchandise. "The weather has been so yucky. It's a real treat to come here; it really feels like spring," said Debbie Linder of Vernon. When Springfest started nine years ago, it was hosted in a single greenhouse. Since then it has grown considerably, now taking up three connected buildings. "We have seen significant growth, and last year, through the generosity of the Sussex County people, we were able to spend $40,000 to winterize one of our buildings," said Marty Carson, Springfest committee member. "This year we spent $10,000 on a public address system," This year's Springfest included ten gardens, many of which had a water component ranging from waterfalls to koi ponds. "Lots of water and lots of color," said David Wright, chairman of Springfest. "The weather this year made things quite difficult because most of the materials used in the displays had to be pulled out of snow banks, but everyone stepped up and did a great job. It's really a tribute to the whole horticultural community." Springfest is intended to give people landscaping ideas while offering local horticultural and landscaping business the opportunity to show off their products and improve their customer base. "We both have new houses and are here in search of landscaping ideas," said Linda Graham, speaking for herself and her friend and fellow Sparta resident, Anna Tonnesen. "It's a wonderful resource,"