To celebrate trees and nature, the Hopkinsville Beautification Commission presents the second annual Arbor Day Festival.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the DeBow Park pavilion on North Drive.

"(Trees) are one of the main things keeping us alive. Without them, we wouldn't be here," said Heather Braun, beautification coordinator for the City of Hopkinsville. "They produce the oxygen we breathe, and they clean the air of pollution. They keep the area shaded. If it weren't for (trees) it would be a lot warmer."

In 2018, Hopkinsville joined more than 3,400 cities committed to being a Tree City USA through the Arbor Day Foundation. Braun said this festival is part of the requirements to keep that status.

According to the website, "the Tree City USA program has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees."

Hopkinsville has achieved Tree City USA status by meeting "four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day."

Braun said last year's festival was in September, but organizers decided to move the event to October.

"It's a better time to plant trees," Braun said. "It's a bit cooler and they don't have to work quite as hard. There's a better chance for their survival."

The family-friendly festival will include pumpkin painting sponsored by Superlawn and Garden, crafts and a scavenger hunt. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area will be bringing Smokey Bear to the festival, Braun said.

"It's important to teach your family about nature and trees," Braun said. "It's going to be informational and pretty fun."

Kelly R. Jackson, Christian County extension agent for horticulture, will lead an information session about "diseases of trees." Other sessions will include information about pruning and planting of trees, Braun said.

During the festival, the community will be planting a large, faster-growing oak tree at DeBow Park.

"There are already oak trees there," Braun said. "They get a little bit bigger and provide a little bit more shade. With the soccer fields there that was key."

The festival will also include music, giveaways, food sold by the Snack Shack and local craft vendors selling their products.

For more information about the Arbor Day Festival, visit the events section of the Hopkinsville Beautification Commission Facebook page. The commission's mission is to promote the public interest and to enhance quality of life by creating a more appealing, pleasant and inviting place in which to live, work and play.

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