FOREST HILL, La. (KALB News Channel 5)- The 29th annual Louisiana Nursery Festival kicked off today in Forest Hill. The event offers everything from food to arts and crafts, and of course- plants. But has this year's especially cold winter hurt the plant business in Forest Hill? News Channel 5's Rachael Penton decided to pay them a visit to find out.
The Louisiana Nursery Festival is an annual Forest Hill tradition.
"It does represent us as a whole, as a nursery industry. It gives a chance for all of us to come out. It gives a chance for the people to come into town to visit all of us," says festival president Elizabeth Jeter.
The festival is a time for Forest Hill growers to show off their goods.
"It gives us a chance to kind of advertise everything and let people know what we have and bring people into the community so it's for our economy," adds Jeter.
"But this year's especially cold winter has had an effect on nursery owner's here in Forest Hill."
Bill Massey owns Hickory Hill Nursery, and he says this has been the worst winter he's ever seen.
"A lot of sleepless nights and stuff, but it's been pretty tough on us this year," says Massey.
The cold weather has killed some plants, and driven up the cost of others.
"It's definitely affected us. Our propane bill that we have to use to heat the houses and stuff has almost doubled or tripled this year," adds Massey.
But with spring approaching, things are beginning to look up.
"We are down compared to this time last year but now we're starting to pick up with the warmer weather and stuff," says Massey.
Nursery owners say the weather is just a risk you have to take if you love the business.
"We just pick ourselves up. Brush ourselves off and we keep going," says Jeter.
So despite the long, cold winter the growers of Forest Hill are back at the festival for the 29th year.
"Everyone wants to come out, get out of the house. It's springtime. We want to start doing things in our yards and our nursery's all need work so we're anxious to get out and get started."