Breakers to host flower design contest
Call it Iron Chef for florists: “120 minutes ... Top floral designers ... A mystery assignment ... Only one will win the grand prize.”
That’s how the Society of American Florists is promoting the 50th anniversary of its Sylvia Cup Floral Design Competition, which takes place Saturday at The Breakers as part of the society’s 133rd annual convention. Anyone intrigued can watch in person for free.
Fifteen flower designers from across the country will face off. To start, they’ll receive identical materials — flowers, foliage and design supplies — and a surprise theme. They’ll then have two hours to create three arrangements for the top prize of $3,000.
Dubbed the “longest-running, live, national floral industry design competition” by the society, one former winner calls the event daunting for participants but stunning for observers.
“If you love flowers, it will take your breath away,” said Vince Petrovsky, who owns Heaven & Earth Floral in West Palm Beach.
The Lake Worth resident won first prize in 2012, the last time the event was held at The Breakers.
The competition can be nerve-wracking since contestants aren’t given any hints about the theme and in 120 minutes must de- sign three arrangements on their feet, Petrovsky said.
“If you take the wrong direction, you’re lost,” he said.
Surprise themes in previous years have been “Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii” and “Cirque du Fleur,” in which competitors designed a floral headpiece, a table centerpiece and a bridal bouquet that had to include something suspended within the design, society spokeswoman Jenny Scala said.
Viewers can watch the contest alongside costumed workers as three judges evaluate the work based on factors including color, mechanics and originality, Scala said. First-, second- and thirdplace winners will be announced at a dinner that night and featured on the group’s Facebook page.
Another highlight of the three-day weekend will be the “Outstanding Flower Varieties Competition” of Thursday and Friday. There, nearly 5,000 flowers from growers across the country and the world will be on display, according to a news release.
Judges will choose winners from among nearly 200 types of roses, gerberas, lilies, carnations, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas and more. Attendees will be able to vote for their favorites in the People’s Choice honor.
About 400 florists, floral designers and flower growers are expected to attend the three-day convention. While in town, participants will hear from industry experts on such topics as the future of the retail florist, preparing millennial for leadership, hacks to extend vase life and how to stand out on social media, according to the society’s website.
Apparently, it’s a popular event: “... registration is off the charts, and the hotel is sold out — but don’t let that stop you from attending!” the site says.
Petrovsky, who recently dreamed about an arrangement that inspired him for this year’s competition, hopes to join the short list of designers who have won more than once, he said.
“It is amazing to see these floral artists in action,” Scala said.
Fifteen flower designers will face off for the $3,000 top prize in the Sylvia Cup Floral Design Competition.