Monday, January 19, 2009

A flowerless Inauguration??

As many of you know, Ian Prosser has had the honor of being selected as the Design Chairperson for Bush's previous Inauguration. Ian was in charge of all of the floral for the 14 official events. his year, Ian was selected as the Design Chairperson for the Obama Inauguration, however unfortunately, the Inaugurational Committee had other plans in mind. Check it out below ... Hopefully SAF will participate in 2013?? :)

Inaugural Committee To Rely On Local Florists For Balls, Dinners
January 8, 2009

Dozens of floral designers primed to head to Washington, D.C. to decorate the events surrounding the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama will not be as close to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20 as they had hoped.

SAF, which has coordinated the floral décor for 5 of the last 6 inaugurations, will not be coordinating floral support for the upcoming Presidential Inaugural events.

SAF CEO Peter Moran says he's not entirely surprised with the decision, given the challenges the country faces. "I believe the current mindset of PIC (the Presidential Inaugural Committee) is that they do not want to produce an event that looks too lavish, given the current state of the economy and that the country is involved in two wars," Moran says.

Lavish aptly describes the floral décor SAF has provided for past events. Under the leadership of Charles Kremp 3rd, AAF, who has coordinated SAF's décor effort for the last 4 inaugurations, past inaugural balls and dinners have been adorned with seemingly endless swathes of lush garland, elaborate centerpieces and 12-foot-high urns featuring the finest fresh product. The bulk of the cost of making that happen is not in the product — the majority of which is donated by the industry — but in warehouse space and housing the 200 floral industry volunteers it takes to pull it off.

Moran says PIC had indicated early in December that it would not be able to cover the cost of hotel rooms, and later that month a major inaugural vendor indicated that there would be a reduced amount of flowers used at events.

"In the past, plans for floral decorations have required a much larger base of coordinators, designers and delivery drivers, and our association is the logical organization to bring those volunteers together," Moran says. "The floral needs did not require this type of effort this time around so the project is in the capable hands of local floral professionals. We are happy to know that flowers will still play a part in this historic occasion."

SAF's involvement in the Inauguration is never guaranteed — in fact, SAF CEO Peter Moran says that in past years, it's often not confirmed until a month before, or sometimes less. "In 2001 (when a 'recount' was required), we didn't get the go-ahead on our involvement until early in January," Moran recalls.

Kremp says he'll stay hopeful that circumstances will be different for the next Inauguration. "We'll be ready to go after it in 2013," he says, "and show the organizers the benefit that our product brings to very special celebrations."

--Kate F. Penn

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