Washington in Bloom organizers are counting down the days until the national America in Bloom (AIB) symposium, in which they will find out how Washington fared in the competition.
The annual symposium will be held this Thursday, Sept. 19, through Saturday, Sept. 21, in Orlando, Fla. Population category award winners and final AIB special awards results will be announced closing day.
National judges Katy Moss Warner and Melanie Menachem-Riggs visited Washington in July for judging. They spent two days touring the city, conducting interviews with municipal representatives and meeting with community volunteers.
The judges toured dozens of businesses, city organizations, historic sites, recreation sites and other locations.
Sally Bocklage, Washington AIB committee chair, will attend the event with Dave Wehmeyer, co-chair; and John R. Holmes community champion award nominee; Darren Dunkle, parks director; and Jill Straatmann, committee member.
Mayor Sandy Lucy, who has attended the symposium in the past, is unable to attend because of events happening in Washington.
“We will miss Mayor Lucy, but certainly understand fully that she needs to be in Washington for such events as ‘The Moving Wall,’” Bocklage said. “We hope to make her very proud with the results we will share upon our return.”
The symposium will kick off with a mayors breakfast reception. Because Lucy is unable to attend, Straatmann and Bocklage will sit in instead.
“Our goal is to have Washington be seen and heard often throughout the conference. It will give us fabulous, positive exposure and give Washington the recognition it so deserves,” Bocklage said.
Dunkle and Wehmeyer will arrive to the symposium Thursday evening for a reception and AIB outstanding achievement awards banquet, where several award recipients will be announced.
Participants in the symposium also will tour Epcot’s World Showcase designed by Disney landscape architects, the Henry P. Leu Gardens, Orange County Convention Center and other walking tours.
The group will listen to sessions such as “How Locally Grown Food Is Revitalizing Communities,” “The Great Water Challenge — Transforming Water Problems Into Places of Beauty,” “Adding Drama Downtown With Containers,” and other demonstrations.
On Saturday evening, the four will find out if Wehmeyer won the community champion award. There were only 11 nominees across the United States.
“His extremely commendable and lengthy record of selfless commitment toward improving our city certainly makes him a very strong nominee,” Bocklage said, adding that it’s an honor to have someone from Washington nominated.
Committee members also will learn the winners of the population category awards and other special awards.
Overall results will be published in the Wednesday Missourian.