Thursday, June 23, 2011

Behind the Scenes at the San Diego County Fair Flower Show

Have you ever been to the San Diego County Fair, strolled through the Flower Show and wonder how all those terrific cut flowers get entered?  Last night, I decided to keep a diary of the crazy process that we flower show exhibitors go through to enter all those flowers.

3:00am  The alarm goes off, it’s time to load the flowers into the minivan.  Oops, I forgot that I promised my wife that I would clean the kitchen before going to bed.  So at 3am, I am doing dishes.  Ugh!

3:30am  Now it’s time to load 4 boxes of flowers into the van and head for the fair.  I am bringing about 100 flowers to enter.

4:00am  I arrive at the O’Brien Pavilion at the county fairgrounds.  After unloading the car, I round up 70 vases of various sizes and set up shop on a table.  There are about 4 exhibitors here.

4:30am  Now that all the vases are filled with water, it’s time to pick the best 70 entries of the original 100.  Each flower is given a fresh cut and placed in a vase.  If need be, the flower stem is wedged in place with a styrofoam peanut so that the flower is as upright as possible.

4:45am  The 3am wake up call is starting to hit me, so it’s time to see if Jerry (another flower exhibitor) brought some of his wife’s great crumb cake to give me a jolt of sugar.

5:15am  Woo! Hoo!  Janet (flower show staff) is here with the donuts for the exhibitors.  It’s time for more sugar.

5:30am  Still grinding away putting flowers in vases.

5:45am  I have finished 2 of the 4 boxes of flowers.  Time for another donut!  There are about 20 exhibitors here.

6:00am  The sun is rising now on the outside of the building.  Have I really been up for 3 hours?  Ugh.

6:15am  All 4 boxes of flowers have been put in vases.  The original 100 have been whittled down to 70.  Due to entry restrictions, I can only enter 2 flowers per class.  There are 26 classes in the “Other Specimen Bloom” that I can enter, which means I can only enter a maximum of 52 entries.  Here is where the strategic decisions are made.  Do I enter that sunflower in “Yellow Bloom”, “Largest Bloom” or “Sunflower”?  I have about an hour to made all these decisions and fill out a tag for each entry.

6:45am  I am getting sleepy again, time for another donut and more Diet Coke to keep me awake.  Yes, I am aware of how silly it must seem to eat all these donuts and then drink a diet soda.

7:15am  I have whittled the 70 flowers down to what I feel are my best 52 entries (including some roses and dahlias).  Now it’s time to place every entry on the proper table in its proper class throughout the hall.  I have 45 minutes left before the entries are closed.

8:00am  The show chair closes the flower show to entries, but I am still placing.  Now the race is on to get the flowers on the table before each flower show clerk checks the tables. 

8:15am  I have finished placing all the flowers.  The leftover flowers that did not make it into the show are made into a bouquet for the flower show staff.  It’s time to clean up my huge mess.

8:30am  Flower Show judging begins and will end by 11:30am.  I will check back on Friday to see what I won.  Stay tuned to this blog for the results.

1 comment:

  1. Doug, I loved learning about the process. Now, I , too, can enter flowers in the Alameda county fair....and I love donuts!