About Us

The Green Thumb Festival was established by the St. Petersburg Parks Department as an Arbor Day celebration in 1986. The concept was introduced by then Parks Director Litdell “Dell” Holmes in response to meeting the requirements for the prestigious Tree City USA award. St. Petersburg has been a recipient of the Tree City USA award every year since 1986 .

The first Green Thumb Festival was held in scenic Boyd Hill Nature Preserve on April 11, 1986. With strong support from the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association, the festival was a big success for a new event. Approximately 30 vendors participated along with 12 environmental groups. Entertainment was provided by several local blue grass bands and refreshments were sold.

In an effort to schedule special events in other sections of St. Petersburg, besides the popular waterfront parks or Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, the second annual Green Thumb Festival was held at Walter Fuller Park in the northwest section of the city. Near a beautiful stand of pine trees, the festival spread its banners, horticultural booths, and educational exhibits. Attendance continued to increase.

The excitement surrounding the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990 helped to increase interest in the Green Thumb Festival, which was celebrating its fifth year. Many new environmental groups and organizations joined the festival for the first time. The festival moved back to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve for one last year. Since 1991, the festival has remained at Walter Fuller Park where it has continued to grow over the years in both participation and attendance.

In 2011, the Green Thumb Festival celebrated its 25th year and continues to be one of the best horticulture festivals in the state. Attendance is estimated at 30,000 to 35,000 over the two-day event and more than 200 educational and environmental exhibits and vendors participate in the festival.

The Tree City USA award is presented annually by the Arbor Day Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters for recognizing urban and community forestry programs.

To be eligible for the Tree City USA award, a community must host an Arbor Day program, pass a resolution proclaiming Arbor Day, plant trees, and establish appropriate city ordinances to protect and manage trees.

For more information on
Tree City USA

The Green Thumb Festival continues to be free of charge and to promote tree planting and beautification, $5 trees, free pine seedlings, and more than 1,000 free plants are given away annually. Each year, an adult(s) and child(ren) are nominated and selected for the prestigious Green Thumb award\given in recognition of superior volunteer service to the environmental community. From soil testing and tool sharpening to specialty plants, palms, and bird feeders, there is something for every gardening enthusiast at the festival. And, with the Garden Club of St. Petersburg’s Annual Flower Show, Children’s Plant Fair, tree climbing, plant auction, food and entertainment, and children’s crafts, the Green Thumb Festival is a well-rounded event suitable for the whole family.

Major contributors to the Green Thumb Festival include the City of St. Petersburg, the Garden Club of St. Petersburg, the Pinellas County Extension Service, the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, the Pinellas Technical Centers, and the Tampa Bay Times.

The City of St. Petersburg supports being designated a “Green City” through programming to conserve water, plant trees, preserve estuaries and sensitive lands, provide earth-friendly recycling programs, and reduce its carbon footprint. The city recognizes that well-managed trees are a vital part of the urban environment and enhance the quality of life in our cities, towns, and communities.

The City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department is proud to bring this annual festival, which promotes respect for nature and our environment as well as an opportunity to learn more about the care and cultivation of plants and flowers in Florida, to our community.

Arbor Day Weekend

April 27 and 28, 2019
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.



  • Tampa Bay Times

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1400 19th Street North • St. Petersburg, FL 33713
(727) 893-7441
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