The Geranium Festival was first known as the Henry County Chamber Arts and Crafts Festival. In 1977, the first Henry County Chamber Arts and Crafts Festival took place at Big Spring Park. Likewise, the 1978 Festival took place at Big Spring Park, with 17 booths. In 1979, the Henry County Chamber Arts and Crafts Festival was moved to the downtown Square and had approximately 54-57 booths.
The following year, the Henry County Chamber of Commerce decided that they did not have enough staff to continue doing the Festival and asked the City of McDonough to find a civic organization to take over the Festival. Mayor Copeland asked two different civic organizations but neither organization was interested, as the funding available for the Festival was only $630. Mayor Copeland asked the Lion’s Club to take the project on and, while initially hesitant, they met and the Lion’s Club Board supported the challenge. President of the Chamber, Fred Crumley, and Mayor Copeland worked together to make the transition. The Chamber transferred the $630 to the Lion’s Club, and they began to plan.
Lois and Kirk Carney moved, along with their business, from Pennsylvania to McDonough, Georgia. The name of their business was Oglevee Products and they sold plants, primarily red geraniums. They had a 5-acre plan house in McDonough and decided that they would like to contribute red geraniums annually to the Henry County Chamber Arts and Crafts Festival. The first year they donated 250 red geraniums, the second year around 400 red geraniums, the third year about 600 red geraniums, etc. Until they were donating more than 800 red geraniums to the Festival.
in 1982, the name was changed from the Henry County Chamber Arts and Crafts Festival to the Red Geranium Festival in honor of the generosity of Lois and Kirk Carney. Lois and Kirk continued to donate red geraniums to the Festival until they sold their business.
When the Festival first moved to the Square, all of the booths were contained in the middle of the Square. Gradually, each year the Festival continued to expand from the center outward and now not only covers the Square, but also the streets that extend from the Square.
This year, 2018 is our 41st Annual Geranium Festival.