Gary Leek is one of the bluegrass musicians set to perform at Fall Fest this Saturday. Photo: Courtesy of Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens
Gary Leek is one of the bluegrass musicians set to perform at Fall Fest this Saturday. Photo: Courtesy of Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens

Local nonprofit to bring autumn fun to Reata Park this Saturday

By Allison Jarrell

Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens has branched out from its annual Eco Garden Expo in the spring and is hosting its first ever Fall Fest this Saturday, Oct. 15, at Reata Park and Event Center in San Juan Capistrano.

The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., features a lineup of speakers, exhibitors, workshops, activities for kids, live bluegrass music, food trucks, and craft beer and wine.

Goin Native founder Marianne Taylor said the inspiration for the new fall festival was to connect the community to nature and a simpler way of life.

“Reata Park is underutilized, so my hope is that this will bring more people to Reata,” Taylor said. “Have a picnic, bike, walk your dog, or spend time with your children under a tree and read a book.”

The day-long event will feature a variety of workshops teaching attendees how to blend their own essential oils, create vertical gardens and use natural dyes. There will also be knitting demonstrations, arts and crafts for kids, a booth for kissing ponies, and putting lessons from the San Juan Hills Golf Course.

Other local organizations involved with the event include the Friends of the Library, the San Juan Capistrano Garden Club, Zen Dojos Martial Arts, The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo, the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum, UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners, and the Fiesta Association, which will have old fashioned activities for children.

Six speakers are scheduled to present throughout the day on subjects ranging from monarch butterflies and making kombucha, to growing Asian herbs and fermentation.

Taylor said bluegrass music became an element of the festival because she felt like it goes hand in hand with the season, and because South Orange County currently doesn’t have a bluegrass festival.

The festival will feature three bluegrass bands playing throughout the day—Gary Leek from 10-11:30 a.m., Sweetwater Creek Band from 12:15-1:45 p.m., and Whitewater from 2:30-4 p.m.

The day will conclude with a community jam session at from 4-5 p.m., and guests are encouraged to bring their own instruments and play along.

Admission is $5 at the door, and children under 5 get in for free. VIP packages from $100 to $120 are also available, offering reserved pavilion seating for the bluegrass concerts, preferred parking, swag bags, tokens for food and drinks, 20 opportunity tickets for baskets valued at over $500, and more.

Goin Native will also be giving out a free pumpkin for every can of food brought for Second Harvest Food Bank (while supplies last).

All proceeds from the event go toward funding Goin Native’s community programs, including wellness classes, Los Rios Garden Angels, Goin’ Healthy cooking classes at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley, and more.

Parking at Reata is free, or attendees can park downtown and take a free shuttle from the train station directly to Reata Park. The shuttle will leave from The Vintage Steakhouse every 30 minutes between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Goin Native is also offering free admission to those who present their Metrolink train pass.

Reata Park is located at 28632 Ortega Highway in San Juan. For more information on Fall Fest, visit

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