Where have all the flower shows gone?

Duane Kelly, chairman of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show and the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, has announced that next month’s event (Feb. 18-22, 2009) may be the last:  The Seattle show is up for sale.  If no buyer is found, the show will close.  More details from the Seattle P-I.


That’s a huge blow to the gardening community not just here in the Northwest, but across the country — we’ve always had a good contingent of out-of-town speakers and attendees.  In the Northwest, our year seems to begin at the convention center, where we can fool ourselves for a while that it isn’t gray and rainy outside.


I’ve been involved with the flower show for about 15 years.  My first job was running a seminar room — turning the lights on and off, introducing speakers, telling people to sit down, unsticking slides.  Then, I worked in the show office, running the ticket sales.  For the last eight years (I think), I’ve been a speaker myself. 


I’ll miss the show terribly, but I understand why Duane wants to bow out now.  Because of the decline of the industry, he’s had to do more hands-on work each year, just when he would have preferred to back away from the day-to-day aspect, and spend more time playwriting.  So, I say thanks, Duane, for giving us two decades of early spring.


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