Cape Cod Non-Profits;

Wouldn’t it be great if your non-profit held a fundraiser that was promoted far beyond the Cape by professional marketers? Would you like your group to be making money, building other non-profits and businesses, all while celebrating beautiful gardens? This is what the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival, to be launched in 2015, is all about.

The details about how it all works are the Hydrangea Festival FAQ section below. What’s most important right now is to know if your organization would like to participate. The marketing of this event is starting in November and we need a beginning figure about the number of gardens that will be on tour.

WHAT: The Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival – ten days of open gardens Cape-wide – promoted by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. (Note: gardens do not have to be open all 10 days! See FAQ document.)

WHEN: The CCHF will take place over a ten-day period that includes the second and third weekend every July. In 2015 this would be from July 10th through the 19st.

WHERE: Open gardens would be located on Cape Cod, from Provincetown to Woods Hole.

WHO: Any Cape non-profit or business could become a member of the CCHF and be listed on the festival website and all promotional materials.

HOW: Cape non-profits will find homeowners/gardeners who are willing to have their gardens open during the festival. All gardens will charge $5.00 for entry and this money will go directly to the non-profit.

Want to know more? See the FAQ below. In the meantime, please let C.L. Fornari know if you’re interested in participating or learning more:   I’m happy to send all of this information  to anyone who would find a printable Word document useful to take to their non-profit.

Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival  Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is this festival’s purpose?

A: To generate income for Cape non-profits and businesses. To allow Cape gardeners the opportunity to share the beauty they’ve created for the benefit of a local organization. To spread our love of gardens and hydrangeas to people in areas other than Cape Cod.


Q: Can any Cape Cod non-profit participate?

A: Yes. If they are already a member of the Cape Cod Chamber they can participate without charge. Non-Chamber members would pay a fee of $50.00 to be included in the festival. (For information on membership to the CC Chamber, please contact them through their website: or


Q: Is this a one-time event?

A: We envision this to be an annual event that will take place over the second and third weekend each July. It will be an event that can build over time to include educational programs, special menus at restaurants, and other Hydrangea Festival happenings.


Q: When will the Hydrangea Festival happen in 2015?

A: The first day will be Friday July 10th and the last Sunday July 19st, 2015.


Q: Who finds the gardens that will be open and what type of gardens do they need to be?

A: The non-profits who are sponsoring, staffing and collecting funds from the gardens will find them. It will be the non-profit’s responsibility to know that a garden will be appealing to those who visit their chosen properties. Many types and styles of gardens are welcome, including those that have few hydrangeas and those with many of the “signature plant.” Note that hydrangeas in containers are acceptable! Hydrangea-free gardens are welcome although this fact will need to be in the garden’s description.


Q: How will the non-profit determine which days their gardens will be open?

A: The number of gardens on any organizations tour, and the days they are open is completely flexible. Needless to say, the more gardens an organization has open during that ten days, the more money they can generate from the tours. Non-profits can choose to have their garden/gardens open on any or all of the festival’s ten days. (For example, next year one group might only have two gardens that are on tour, one on Saturday July 11th and another on Wednesday the 15th. Another organization might have one garden that’s open all ten days, while a third group might have five gardens that are all open only on a Sunday.) The number of gardens and days they will be open are determined by the non-profits and the property owners who are willing to open their yards for this event.


Q: What does it cost to get into each garden?

A: The cost of each garden visit will be $5.00 – this will go directly to the non-profit. People can buy a ticket at the entry to the garden, or purchase tickets in advance. When advance tickets are purchased through the CC Chamber the number will be recorded when someone uses that ticket at a garden, and the money distributed to the non-profit after the event.


Q: Can the sponsoring non-profit hold other fundraising activities in the garden at the same time?

A: Yes, if the organization wants to sell baked goods, plants, crafts, art, or other items as part of their tour they are welcome to do so. The planning, execution, and money taking for such add-on fundraiser are up to the sponsoring organization.


Q: Besides finding the gardens and deciding when they’ll be open, what does the non-profit have to do?

A: The non-profit will be responsible for finding their gardens and staffing them with enough people to take tickets, watch the visitors, and direct traffic/parking if needed. A minimum of four staffers per garden is recommended per garden, but larger properties might need more. Non-profits with fewer volunteers might want to space out the gardens that they have open over several days so that staffing is adequate at each property. The non-profit will also be responsible for procuring any additional umbrella-coverage insurance that the homeowners may request for the days of the event if their current policy doesn’t already cover such things. Non-profits will also provide any necessary cleanup after the tour.

Q: Will there be many gardens open on the same day?

A: This is possible. We foresee that most visitors who come for the festival will most likely plan to visit gardens in one part of the Cape. So an organization that has their gardens open for more than one day might have a “fundraising edge.” For the first year it’s impossible to know how many gardens will be on tour and where they will be located. Since this is a festival, we say “the more the merrier!”


Q: How will the event be publicized?

A: The Chamber will promote this through their normal marketing department. In addition, they will have special CCHF pages on their website. As we get closer to the event that website will feature a list of the gardens on tour so that visitors can plan their trips around which gardens they would like to see.


Q: What hours will the gardens be open for touring?

A: All gardens will be open from 10 AM to 4 PM on the day of the tour. Gardens on tour will be provided with signs that showing the CCHF logo for identification on the day of the tour.


Q: My organization already holds a garden tour. Why would we want to join in on the CCHF?

A: The advantage of joining together is several-fold. By taking part in the festival your event will be promoted beyond Cape Cod and attract visitors that haven’t seen Cape gardens before. This means that you could have the same gardens on tour every year if you’d like since a new population of people would always be interested in seeing them. Additionally, the publicity would be largely handled by the CC Chamber, which takes much of that burden off the organization’s shoulders. You would promote your own gardens to your own members and other interested parties, of course, but the knowledge about your gardens would be marketed beyond your immediate circles.


Q: Can businesses and other organizations take part in some way?

A: Museums, businesses and other organizations with public facilities might also choose to hold special garden/hydrangea related events such as lectures, sales, and demonstrations in this time. A list of CCHF events will also be on the website.  All advance ticket sales will be handled by the CCHF but tickets may be purchased at each garden on the day of the event. Especially small properties might restrict the number of people who can be in the garden at any one time. Such restrictions would be on a first-come-first-serve basis and access to the garden controlled by the ticket takers and other staff at that property.


Q: What if our non-profit wants to have gardens open in a place where there is no parking?

A: If an organization wants to provide a shuttle-bus service to and from their gardens they are welcome to do so. All expenses for such services will be up to the non-profit and they should consider finding sponsors who would help with such transportation.


Q: Can the non-profit solicit local sponsors for their gardens to cover any additional expenses or add to their profits for the event?

A: Yes, if you want to secure local underwriters for your open garden days by all means do so.


Q: I know gardeners who might like to open their gardens. Can someone volunteer to have a garden on tour and be matched with a non-profit in their area?

A: Yes! Anyone who wants to open their garden should contact C.L. Fornari.

Additional questions? Contact C.L. Fornari.


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