Break­ers to host flower de­sign con­test

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY - By EL­LIOTT WENZLER

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.

Cour­tesy So­ci­ety of Amer­i­can Florists

Fif­teen flower de­sign­ers will face off for the $3,000 top prize in the Sylvia Cup Flo­ral De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion.

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