HUDSON -- Festival Days kicked off June 15 with overcast skies, but a strong turnout at homes and gardens.

The visitors came from Hudson and far away. For many it was the first time touring the homes and gardens while others were long-time veterans.

Susie McKenzie of Hudson said it was her first time attending Festival Days.

"I wanted to come for several years but couldn't," McKenzie said. "I like the gardens."

McKenzie said she did landscaping last year at her home and is inspired by the gardens on the tour.

Molly DeSantis of Hudson and her mother, Beth Lybik of Hudson, decided the tour was a fun activity they could do together.

DeSantis said it was her first time attending and was looking for a little inspiration.

"We finally got an opportunity to come on the tour and take in the local Hudson flavor," Lybik said.

Six Hudson friends, Georgia Redmon, Marilyn Pearce, Niki Wongchaowart, Lynn Schmidt, Jan Lutz and Meg Bartman accompanied each other on the tour.

Redmon has lived in Hudson for 24 years but has only been attending Festival Days for eight years, after she retired.

"We do it for the comradery and to spend time with friends," the group said.

"I enjoy the beauty of the flowers and arrangements in the homes," said Schmidt, who has attended Festival Days for 20 years.

Plein Air artist, who paint on site, were at the houses and gardens on the tour capturing the moment on canvas. Their artwork will be on sale 4 to 7 p.m. June 17 at the gallery at Hudson Fine Art & Framing Co., 160 N. Main St. Artist include Peter Brent, Betty Derrer, Diane Farr, Mary Kay Haneline, Kathleen Harrington, Chuck Kovacic, Carolyn Lewis and Janet Stolle.

Stolle was at the home on Division Street painting the back of the house in oil. She's been an artist "forever" but has been painting plein air style for four years.

"The view is challenging," Stolle said. "There are buildings behind buildings with angles coming forward and others going back."

The challenge was the changing light and shadows as the day progressed, she said.

"The light is gorgeous," Stolle said about the overcast sky. "But with Plein Air you're always chasing the light."

At the Hudson Middle School the Hudson Society of Artists' Clothesline Art Show was displayed for viewing and purchases.

Bev McKinley of Hudson enjoyed the art work that included plenty of outdoor scenes, flowers and animals.

"I love homemade things," McKinely said. "They're so unique."

Also at HMS was the Garden Shop where visitors could purchase plants and ornaments to decorate their gardens.

Chris Bedell of Akron and Mary Ellen Isaac of Strongsville had selected items and were shopping for more. Both have attended Festival Days for three years.

"I love to shop," Bedell said. "And I learn about a new flower or two."

Isaac said she likes to see the older homes and the gardens in back.

First time Festival Days visitor Cathleen Amy of Mantua was with 10-year veteran Julie Sebenoler of Twinsburg.

"I come to get decorating ideas in the home," Sebenoler said. "I like the Hudson architecture."

Amy said she came to look at the homes but loves the flowers.

"I used to be in a garden club and did miniatures," Amy said.

Festival Days concludes June 16 with the Ice Cream Social, concerts and Screen on the Green's movie.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP