Last weekend to celebrate Poinsettia Festival - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Last weekend to celebrate Poinsettia Festival

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Posted: Friday, December 10, 2010 2:00 pm

The Poinsettia Festival will cap off its 25th year with one final weekend starting today, Dec. 10, through Sunday, Dec. 12.

The annual event, which draws up to 10,000 people over the course of two weekends in December, takes place at Gardener's World, 3401 E. Baseline Road, a 20-acre farm owned by Gary and Sharon Petterson.

At the festival, on the north side of South Mountain, attendees can take a wagon-ride tour of the farm or a self-guided tour of the greenhouse to view the thousands of poinsettias.

"The draw to the festival, it's the beauty of the poinsettias," Sharon Petterson said. "People that come, they say, ‘This is just incredible.' This is our gift to the community."

The Pettersons begin ordering the poinsettias in January from different growers throughout California. They receive the buds and start planting them in May.

"This year we have different varieties of poinsettias that we haven't in the past," she said.

For families with children, Santa Claus will make an appearance at the festival on Saturday and Sunday.

One of the myths associated with the beautiful flower is that they can be toxic to humans or pets if ingested. Dr. Jeff Jenkins of Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital, 10855 S. 48th St., said there is little truth to the rumor.

"They are not really toxic, that's kind of an old wives' tale," he said. "I think it comes from a research project in the 1930s and they came up with poinsettias being very deadly. But research in the last 10 to 20 years has shown they are not toxic."

So what should people watch out for with pets during the holiday season?

"Chocolate is poisonous but dogs have to eat a whole lot to be at a toxic level," Jenkins said. "And, you don't see it as much anymore, but cats would swallow tinsel or ribbon and that can end up being serious."

To find out more about the Poinsettia Festival, which has free admission and goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit their website,

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