Gardens are blooming, final touches are being applied to artworks, and details are being finalised for Bloom in the Bay.

It's time for the ever-popular, biennial Bay of Plenty Garden & Art Festival, which is only two weeks away.

The November 15-18 event will include the traditional, district-wide garden and art trail and will also celebrate the introduction of a mini festival named Bloom in the Bay.

Bloom in the Bay will be held at the festival hub — Tauranga's Historic Village — and promises a plethora of entertainment opportunities for the whole family during all the festival days.

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"We're refreshing the festival a little," says festival director Marc Anderson.

"We're changing it up a bit. This wonderful festival, which is enjoyed by thousands, has been going for 20 years and we want it to go for another 20 at least. Bloom in the Bay is about encouraging people to feast their eyes, ears and appetite in a creative environment where there's plenty of fun to be had for all ages," Marc says.

Bloom in the Bay action will stretch until 9.30pm on each of the festival nights. This will enable people to call in after work, for example, and enable the gardeners and artists to leave their trail stops and join in the festivities.

"It's also a place to pop in to grab some sustenance before heading out on the trail, or in between garden and art stops. Or it's an excellent opportunity for those who aren't hitting the trails to still be involved in the festival fun.

"We think there's something for everyone," Marc says, "and of course the actual garden and art trail remains as wonderful as ever."

Bloom in the Bay

Gardening and environmental know-how 'The Bug Man', an architectural landscaper and a guru of public horticulture and parks, will be amongst those sharing their knowledge.
Ruud Kleinpaste will cover various topics including how to murder your plants more
slowly. There will be insect play-time too.

Architectural landscaper Nichola Vague will cover art in the garden, rain gardens and small garden solutions.

Geoff Canham will discuss the many values of parks and public horticulture.

Permaculture enthusiast Leo Murray will provide enlightenment on the shortcomings of the environmental movement and on adjusting the bar for sustainability.

And, for those wanting to know how to listen to plants sing through technology, Gary Cook has the answers.

Want to know how to combine a cruise with visiting fabled gardens? Cherryl Browne from Cruise World will provide wisdoms.

Entertainment

The musical variation will be huge at Bloom in the Bay. Enjoy the sounds of Latin rhythms, reggae style, alternative pop, acoustic looping, hip-hop, songs drawn from the melting
pot of soul, folk and blues, and the captivating vocals of a former Riverdance songstress.

Those taking the stage are: Emily Macklow, Jack Kearney, The Afrolites, Alice Sea, Camila & Santiago, Sam Graham, Omri Elyashiv, MDT, Del Pacifico, Dan Sharp, Adam McLean, Paras, Ash Laforteza, Regan Perry, Caitriona Fallon, Makeshift Movements, Gina Madigan, Bree Rose, Airs & Disgraces, Harmonic Resonators and Nimbus. DJ Mufusa will ensure the music never stops.

Food and beverages

Food trucks will have many cuisine types covered. Treat your palate to wares from the likes of The Happy Puku, Top BBQ, Japanese Quarter, Sushi Panda, Not Only Basil Pizzeria, The Milk Bar, the Home Grown Kitchen, and NZ Crepes. Wash those delights down with a tipple from the Mills Reef and Good George bars.

The eating options don't end there. Chef, food-writer, caterer, presenter and singer Stephen Wilson from The Happy Puku will be a busy man — he will also be staging cooking demonstrations and hosting French dining experiences. The latter will provide the opportunity to dine on the village green, enjoying a three-course meal with wine pairing from Mills Reef, held at different times of the day, Stephen says.

"It will be an authentic experience with French cuisine, French-speaking waitstaff and live music including the French national anthem as our waiata ... and then it will be bon appetite," says Stephen who lived in Paris for 26 years, founding the restaurant Kiwizine there.

"I am passionate about life, people and food. I'll be pouring that in to my dishes at Bloom in the Bay," Stephen promises.

• Tickets to the French Dining Experience are $75. For more information and to book a table see the website, email info@gardenandartfestival.co.nz, or phone the festival office on 5702525.

Demonstrations

The festival organisers have ensured there is variety amongst the demonstrations held during Bloom in the Bay.

These will include food, glass flame working, and wreath making demonstrations. And for something all-together different, there's the opportunity to watch a tiny house being built.

Concept gardens

This festival's concept gardens will live on long beyond the actual November 15-18 event — becoming permanent Historic Village fixtures. Six local landscape designers/architects have created varying gardens to further enhance the festival hub and add to the garden wonders of the festival. There's a mix, including traditional revamps, creation of performance gardens, edible plots, and a Japanese kokedama garden.

For the little ones

Little Sweethearts (on-site) will be Kidz Zone. Activities will include colouring book art, chalk art and book reading, as well as garden activities such as make and take a posy home and plant and take home a sunflower seed.

What: Bloom in the Bay
Where: Tauranga Historic Village — the festival hub
When: Thursday, November 15 to Sunday, November 18, 9am-9.30pm
Cost: Free entry for those with a festival trail pass, or $5 for adults and free for children 12 years and under.

Live music, concept gardens, food and beverages, art displays, speakers, workshops and demonstrations, a film (on living the change), stage acts and kids' entertainment. For further information, and a calendar of Bloom in the Bay events
Garden & Art Festival trail tickets can still be purchased. See the website for details.