After months of anticipation, emotion and celebration, America In Bloom (AIB) is proud to announce the award recipients for its seventh annual symposium and awards gala. The big event was hosted by OFA in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 2-4.
AIB is a national grassroots community enhancement program that engages communities in a friendly competition. OFA provides the home and staffing for AIB and treated more than 200 attendees to a homecoming-themed event that encouraged them to show their community pride and spirit. Pictured is the OFA staff in their “Team AIB” shirts inspired by Ohio State’s Buckeyes.
The event kicked off Thursday night with a pep-rally inspired opening reception in which eight sponsored criteria awards were presented. The night’s emcees were AIB board members Alex Pearl, who has managed AIB judges training and recruitment the last seven years, and Greenhouse Grower’s Editor Delilah Onofrey, who helped found the organization. While Pearl dressed up as a flower basket, Onofrey cheered for her original hometown, Lakewood, Ohio.
The winners of the eight criteria awards, which represented the best of all 30 entrants, include:
- American Horticultural Society’s Community Involvement Award–Incline Village, Nevada
- Ball Horticultural Company’s Floral Displays Award–Ironton, Ohio
- Meister Media Worldwide’s Heritage Preservation Award–Lafayette, Ind.
- Project Evergreen’s Landscaped Areas Award–Bexley, Ohio
- Gardens Alive’s Environmental Awareness Award–West Lafayette, Ind.
- J. Frank Schmidt & Son’s Urban Forestry Award–Greendale, Wisc.
- Safe Lawn’s Turf & Groundcover Areas Award–Tipp City, Ohio
- Tidiness–Fayetteville, Ark.
The next two days were packed with educational seminars, networking opportunities and tours. The grand finale was the awards banquet Saturday night, when the population winners were revealed and each community was recognized for its strength. Emcees were AIB’s Executive Director Laura Kunkle and AIB board member Jonathan Bardzik of American Nursery & Landscape Association. Population category winners include:
- Under 5,000–Greendale, Ind.
- 5,001-10,000–North Manchester, Ind.
- 10,001-15,000–Greendale, Wisc.
- 15,001-25,000–Stuart, Fla.
- 25,001-50,000–West Lafayette, Ind.
- 50,001-100,000–Fayetteville, Ark.
- Over 100,000–Toledo, Ohio
Next year’s AIB symposium will be hosted by Hershey, Pa., Oct. 1-3. Now is the time to get your towns involved for next year’s competition. Registration deadline is Feb. 28. For more information, contact AIB at 614-487-1117, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.americainbloom.org.