ALEXANDRIA, USA: Next weekend, some of the floral industry’s top designers will go head to head, and flower to flower, in a highly anticipated live competition that’s sure to put their best skills to the test. Among the 13 floral designers competing in the 49th Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition, sponsored by Certified American Grown and Smithers-Oasis, are seven members of the American Institute of Floral Designers, seven past Sylvia Cup contestants and two contestants sponsored by state floral associations.
Along with attracting top designers, another hallmark of the Sylvia Cup is its surprise challenge, complete with a festive contest room environment and members of Professional Floral Communicators – International dressed in themed costumes.
“The Sylvia Cup is always an exciting contest with a different theme — you never know what you’re walking into,” said Sylvia Cup Coordinator J. Robbin Yelverton, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Blumz by…JRDesigns in metro Detroit. “This year will be no different.”
Past competitions surprised contestants and spectators with themes of Cirque du Fleur in 2015, Studio 54 Revisited in 2014, and Steampunk in 2013.
Yelverton will announce this year’s Sylvia Cup challenge on Sept. 24 at SAF Maui 2016, the Society of American Florists’ 132nd Annual Convention at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Maui. Contestants will race for two hours to complete the challenge using products provided by Certified American Grown and Smithers-Oasis.
“New this year,” Yelverton said, “we have a partnership between American grown product from California, Florida and many other states, including tropicals and exotics from Hawaii.”
Kasey Cronquist, PFCI, is the administrator for Certified American Grown. “Sponsoring the Sylvia Cup in Hawaii is an excellent opportunity for the Certified American Grown program,” Cronquist said. “This year’s competition will be very exciting, with every design representing what beautiful flowers and greens America’s flower farmers bring to the table.”
Anne Stewart is the vice president of Smithers-Oasis North America. “The Sylvia Cup brings together designers of all ages, cultures and regions of the country like no other competitive event. We are excited to tap into this passion, embrace their creativity celebrate the best in the industry,” Stewart said. “Through this sponsorship, the company will be able to reach new professionals and deepen our commitment and connection to the professionals and communities we serve.” Yelverton added, “We are so grateful to Smithers-Oasis for their continued support of the Sylvia Cup. They are always quick to offer products and tools.”
Sylvia Cup Commentators Jerome Raska, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, CAFA, of Blumz by…JRDesigns in metro Detroit and Lisa Weddel, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of L. Weddel Design in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, will highlight the sponsors’ products and track the progress of the designs — and the ticking of the clocks.
Three AIFD Certified Floral Evaluators/Judges appointed by the PFCI Board of Trustees will evaluate the contestants’ work. The highest combined score determines the winner. The top three scores will be honored on stage at the convention’s Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner. The grand prize winner takes home the Sylvia Cup trophy, $3,000 and free registration to SAF Palm Beach 2017, SAF’s next convention; First Runner-Up receives $500 and Second Runner-Up $250.
The contestants in the 49th Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition are:
Concepts by VB
Sponsored by California State Floral Association
Lakhena Mae Chhim
Long Beach, California
BJ Dyer, AAF, AIFD, CPF
A Secret Garden Florist
Cory Ho, AIFD
Paul Latham, AIFD
Fleur de Lis Events & Design
Valerie Lee Ow
J. Miller Flowers and Gifts
Paul Ponn, AIFD
Mary ‘s Flower & Gifts
Florence, South Carolina
Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, PFCI
Trend on Design
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Tricia Upshaw, AIFD, AMF
Shirley’s Flower Studio Inc.
Sponsored by Mid America Design Competition
Derek Woodruff, AIFD, PFCI, CF
Traverse City, Michigan