Next week will be a sweet one in Hershey, Pa., when America In Bloom (AIB) celebrates the shared victories of the communities participating in this year’s competition.
AIB is a national revitalization program and contest funded by our industry and managed by OFA. Hershey is a past AIB winner and considered one of the nation’s cleanest and greenest cities. Founder Milton S. Hershey dreamed of building the perfect town to live, work and play for the employees of his chocolate company. What began as a town that chocolate built has become a year-round, world-class resort destination with outstanding heritage, beautiful gardens and landscaped areas, community pride and environmental awareness.
The eighth annual symposium begins Thursday, Oct. 1, with an opening reception. Greenhouse Grower’s Editor Delilah Onofrey and Alex Pearl will present the criteria awards, recognizing the towns that really stood out in the eight judging criteria–floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, turf and groundcover areas, environmental awareness, tidiness, heritage preservation and community involvement. Leading industry companies are supporting these special awards.
The next two days at the Hershey Lodge will be an educational symposium and tours, culminating with the big awards banquet Saturday night, Oct. 3, when AIB announces the population category winners based on the towns that scored the most points overall in their evaluations. A pair of judges visited the towns in each population group over the spring and summer.
Floriculture industry members have taken an active role in getting their communities involved. These include Dave Williams of Williams Nursery in Westfield, N.J.; Greenheart Farms and Arroyo Grande, Calif.; Dale Siems of Sherman Nurseries and Charles City, Iowa; Bob’s Market & Greenhouses and Point Pleasant, W.Va., and Gallipolis, Ohio; and flower breeder David Lemon and Lompoc Valley, Calif.
Lompoc Valley made its plans to enter the AIB competition in early 2007 and spent two years preparing for the contest. Their experience this year is captured in a half-hour local television program called Discover Lompoc.
Here is the URL for the Lompoc Valley in Bloom video: http://www.cityoflompoc.com/econdev/DiscoverLompoc
Stay tuned for when we present the results of this year’s competition after the symposium. If you are near Hershey and would like to attend the symposium and learn about America In Bloom, contact AIB at 614-487-117, [email protected] or visit www.americainbloom.org.