How the Awards Program Works

America in Bloom has always welcomed participants from towns, villages, cities, townships, and counties. University campuses, business districts, and military installations are invited to participate. Identifiable sections of large cities will be evaluated individually for consideration as participants in AIB.

Here's how the program works:

#1 Register your community for the program
  • Read the participation guide.
  • There is a registration fee associated with entering the program, it's a sliding scale based on population.
  • Businesses, civic groups, and municipal departments are often willing to pay the registration fee.
  • Register by December 31 and you'll receive a free copy of our "Ten Years of Best Ideas" book. A $25 value.

#2 Organize and inspire your community

  • Form an "in Bloom" committee to organize your efforts.
  • Use the new America in Bloom Startup Kit (ASK) to promote the community's participation.
  • Consider forming subcommittees for each of the seven judging criteria; many communities employ subcommittees. The seven criteria are: Flowers, Landscaped Areas, Urban Forestry, Environmental Efforts, Celebrating Heritage, Community Vitality, and Overall Impression. See the Resources tab on the home page to get resources for each criterion. 
  • Beautification programs within your community often provide inspiration and friendly competition for residents.

#3 Prepare for the judges' visit

  • Work with your committee to develop an itinerary that provides good representation of your community, not just selected areas.
  • Plan a driving tour through town that highlights community elements from all seven judging criteria.
  • Get as many volunteers involved as possible!
  • Complete the "Community Profile" (AIB will send an easy to use template ).*
  • Secure at least three nights of accommodations and meals for the judges. Hotels will often be glad to donate the rooms.

#4 Attend the AIB Symposium & Awards Program

  • See your community recognized as a participating city and find out if your community is the recipient of a population or criteria award.
  • Network with other communities and learn from their experiences.
  • Attend educational sessions for a variety of ideas and projects you can use to expand existing beautification efforts and develop new ones.

#5 Celebrate your community's achievements!

  • Recognize all the volunteers who helped make a difference with a community potluck, parade, reception, or other event.
#6 Don't stop, keep going!
  • Review your community's evaluation and share with committees and volunteers.
  • Identify target areas and projects to improve upon and strategies to implement.
  • Keep thanking volunteers and maintain their excitement by starting new projects.

 *all photographs submitted to AIB may be used for promotional and educational purposes without compensation.

Keep these due dates in mind:

Registration closes on February 28.

Community profiles are due via email to by May 1.

Optional: by July 31, nominate your community champion, nominate yourself for a criteria award, and upload your YouTube video. (See the Webinars page for a webinar with YouTube guidelines.)

Register to attend the symposium and awards by August 31.