By Carol McCracken
Landscapers and nursery employees started hauling in soil, rocks and trees into the old buildings at the Portland Company Complex this morning. The flowers start arriving on Monday morning when the buildings are heated for the first time. Everything must be picture perfect by Wednesday, March 11th when the $ 30. opening reception takes place.
“We are concerned about how the economy will affect this year’s attendance,” said one employee of Pray’s Masonry and Landscapers in between phone calls. However, an employee of Grounds Crew was more optimistic. “It’s been a bad winter and the Bangor Flower Show has been cancelled.” he said. “The Boston Show has been cancelled as well. So we hope that people who used to attend both of those shows will come to this one.”
This annual rite of spring has been cancelled across the country because of the recession. Shows in Allentown, Pa and Cleveland, Ohio were cancelled this spring. Other long-time flower shows in Seattle and San Francisco could end this year, if their revenues don’t improve this year. Likewise, there were some vendors wondering aloud if the Portland Flower Show will return next year.
Jan Love, show director, is optimistic about the turnout for the Portland show. She said that several vendors who usually appear at the Boston Flower Show are going to be in the Portland show for the first time. Vendor registration is up overall. This year there will be 105 vendors whereas in past years there have been 80 – to 90 vendors. “The message is that many of these vendors are doing well,” she added.
But one of the new vendors in the show said that last fall for the first time in 10 years, he caught up on his work load. And that made him nerous about the future. That’s why he entered the Portland Show for the first time. This company owner was directing the placement of boulders that form the foundation for his elaborate and complex exhibit. He said he hopes to sell sections of the exhibit to attendees before the end of the show – as do other exhibitors.
“Ask everyone from the Hill to walk on down to the show,” says the attractive Jan Love as she scurries off to find some poles or something or other for a vendor. The show runs from Thursday through Sunday and is a real ‘pick-me-up” every year. The Portland Company Complex is located at 58 Fore Street at the bottom of the Hill. There’s a preview of the Show on Wednesday. The rest runs from Thursday – Sunday. Admission at the door is $15. Advane tickets cost $13.
Please visit www.portlandcompany.com and click on “Portland Flower Show.” Or call 775-4403.