Business is blooming for growers

Alnwick Spring Show 2013
Anna Smith, 11, with one of the floral art arrangements.

Alnwick Spring Show 2013 Anna Smith, 11, with one of the floral art arrangements.

Preparations are well under way for this year’s Alnwick Spring Show, as organisers aim to sow the seeds for a successful event.

The annual feast of flowers, crafts and cookery is growing in size and popularity and those behind the showcase hope 2014 can build on this trend.

And with renowned judges lined up and interest in various categories coming from far and wide, event coordinator David Parker believes the Saturday, April 12, show at the town’s Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre has the potential to be blooming marvellous.

He said: “We want the show to be of a standard that we are happy with – whether that’s for competitors or judges – for the good of Alnwick.

“To have an event in the north of England like this, which is growing all the time, is good for the area. The show is always a good standard and I believe this year will be a very good.

“Preparations are going well and the committee is grateful for the sponsorship and support received from numerous local firms and individuals.

“This will be our eighth show and, without this support, maintaining the desired standard would be difficult.”

There will be open and amateur classes for daffodils, tulips, floral art, cookery and general horticulture, which have already attracted a lot of interest from exhibitors, both in the North East and various areas of the UK and Ireland.

An extensive range of children’s classes for all ages will include both cookery and general novelty items. First-prize winners in the children’s sections receive a rosette and all children who enter will be given a Cadbury’s Cream Egg.

Judges on the day will be Philida Irving, Rae Beckwith, Marion Dickinson, Margaret Onions and Keith Eyre, while the Duchess of Northumberland, patron of the show, is due to present the children’s rosettes and major awards to prizewinners on Saturday afternoon.

David believes this year could be a bumper year for entries, especially in the floral categories, which includes a championship tulip competition, sponsored by the Duchess of Northumberland.

“I really do think it is worth people coming to see the show. It offers them the chance to see daffodils and tulips of a standard that they wouldn’t normally see, other than say the Harrogate Spring Flower Show at the end of April. As far as flowers go, this year’s show could be very good and the Wakefield Tulip Society has shown some interest.

“There has also been interest in the show from people living in the likes of Oxfordshire, Ireland and Scotland. Some of these people haven’t been to Alnwick before, so it shows that interest is growing.”

He believes that programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and the local influence of Alnwick Food Festival help encourage competitors in the cooking classes.

David is keen to plug the show to younger competitors. He is also pleased with the increasing interest from local groups wanting to take part in the event. This year, attractions will include displays and demonstrations by Alnwick Beekeepers, Aln Valley Railway and the Embroidery Guild, as well as sugarcrafts, floral art, plant sales and various other trade and horticultural stands.

One big change this year is the length of the show, which takes place on just the Saturday, instead of across both days of the weekend, as in previous years.

And David is fascinated to see how this pans out.

He said: “It is going to be interesting to see if having the show on one day, instead of two, will actually increase the entry and encourage more people to attend.

“It means that people who are exhibiting don’t have to travel back on the Sunday and it may also help the cookery section because two days for the cooking is a long time for products to be lying around on the benches.”

Refreshments this year are being provided by the Pottergate Pantry, raising funds for the Pottergate group.

Floral art entries must be submitted by the Thursday prior to the show, but all other classes may be entered on Friday, April 11, from 4pm, or the day of the show, from 7am until 8.45am. Judging will commence at 9am.

All entries are free. The show runs from 11am to 5pm. Admission is £1.50, while exhibitors and accompanied children go free.

For more information, or for any show-related advice, contact David by calling 01665 604350 or emailing




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