The Garden Show & Spring Festival, Beirut’s premier outdoor spring event, came to a close on Saturday 2 June after four days at Beirut’s iconic Hippodrome. Showcasing a huge selection of flowers, plants, gardening equipment, terrace furniture and handicrafts, the 15th edition was a resounding success, drawing in a crowd of 20,000 visitors who were able to browse in excess of 220 stands and source essential items for their gardens, terraces and balconies. The opening ceremony, which took place on Wednesday 30 May, was held under the patronage and in the presence of the First Lady of Lebanon Mrs. Nadia Aoun, the Governor Ziad Chebib, and in partnership with the Beirut Municipality.

As every year, visitors were able to attend gardening, cooking and lifestyle masterclasses. Gardening experts and TV personalities, like Kinda Bitar and Marc El Beyrouthy, gave useful tips on how to look after plants and flowers during the summer season. Chefs, dietitians and food professionals such as Abdallah Khodor, Lamia Salhab, Nicole Maftoum and Randa Fahd also hosted sessions.

A conference, organized in collaboration with the Order of Engineers and Architects in Lebanon, explored the integration of sound in landscape design. Titled “The Soundscape,” the conference was led by sound experience and soundscape designer Lorenzo Brusci from Italy.

Elsewhere, dinners were organized in collaboration with L’Academie Nationale de Cuisine, where visitors enjoyed delicious meals prepared by renowned chefs including Charles Azar, Kamil Bouloot, Naim Zoughaib, Youssef Akiki, Cynthia Bitar, Pierre Abi Haila, Souheil Ghazal, Rabih Fouany and George Dakkak. Proceeds from the dinners were donated to Les Restaurants du Coeur, Caritas, CCCL and Tamanna.

In parallel, The Garden Show & Spring Festival hosted Travel Lebanon, the first and only tourism event promoting domestic travel, activities, adventures and local traditions. Organized for the fifth consecutive year by Hospitality Services, with support from the USAID-funded Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) Project and in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, USAID Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson and Minister of Tourism H.E. Avedis Guidanian were present for the official opening ceremony on Thursday 31 May, as were tourism stakeholders.

More than 60 associations, tourism providers, ecotourism specialists, hotels, guesthouses and NGOs participated in the event, which gave visitors the opportunity to plan their entire summer.

Festival highlights included Taste Lebanon, the official food court offering a choice of almost 30 food concepts as well as a farmers’ market by Souk el Tayeb, a daily entertainment and music program, and a Kids’ Village with lots of fun activities such as arts and crafts and inflatable games.

“We are thrilled and proud of the outcome of this year’s event. Our mission has always been to celebrate the best this season has to offer and provide visitors with a place where they can be inspired by the latest ideas, products and services to uplift their outdoor areas. We completely reworked the layout to give a whole new look and feel to the show and the feedback has been extremely positive,” said Joumana Dammous, managing director of Hospitality Services sarl, one of the event organizers.

“This year we wanted to celebrate art in many different ways," said Myriam Shuman, co-organizer of the festival. “The visual identity of The Garden Show was created by the Lebanese artist Alia Mouzannar whose unique artwork was inspired by the iconic Hippodrome. Art Cages produced a beautiful and musical installation at the show’s entrance while a magnificent sculpture by Nabil Helou, taking the form of a public bench, was placed inside. Furthermore, an interesting display of wind chimes, organized in collaboration with Nayla Bassili and Agenda Culturel, showcased the work of six Lebanese designers.”

The Garden Show & Spring Festival | 30 May – 2 June | Beirut Hippodrome | 4-11 pm