Schedule of Events


Welcome Schedule of Events Registration Hotel & Airport Info Symposium Sponsors

Thursday, October 3
11 AM - 4 PM            
Water + Trees: Paddlewheel Riverboat Cruise & Morton Arboretum Tour (Special Registration Required) 
Enjoy lunch as you cruise the historic Fox River from Pottawatomie Park, one of the first public parks in Illinois, and marvel at the beautiful views of unspoiled forest preserve that borders the river. St. Charles Park Districts Manager of Nature Programs, Pam Otto, will lead a guided environmental and historical discussion. After the lunch cruise, you will head to Morton Arboretum. Established in 1922, Joy Morton envisioned a “great outdoor museum” of trees. Today, the living collections inspire visitors to appreciate, learn about, plant, and protect trees. The Arboretum champions the world’s trees through plant collections, science and conservation, education, and outreach. Your tour includes a 1-hour guided driving tour of the 1,700-acre grounds of stunning landscapes. You will have time to explore on your own the nearby gardens and visitors center following the tour. The cost is $65. Seating is limited to 35 people so register early. See the registration form for details.

11AM -
4 PM
Plant Lovers Unite: Tour to Ball Horticultural Company and Midwest Groundcovers (Special Registration Required)
From their beginning as a wholesale cut flower operation started by George J. Ball in 1905, Ball Horticultural Company has grown into a leader in all facets of horticulture. Ball is a global breeder, producer and distributor of seeds, cuttings, plugs, liners, and equipment to the commercial greenhouse industry. Your tour begins with lunch at their headquarters, then you will get behind-the-scenes access to see first-hand the seed processing lab and the packaging operations. Your tour then continues to Midwest Groundcovers, industry leaders in propagating and growing of nursery stock for landscape contractors, re- wholesalers, and independent garden centers. Over the past 50 years, Midwest Groundcovers has grown to nearly 700 acres, producing over 20 million plants per year. A guided tour of the St. Charles nursery will include a walking tour of the trial and display gardens, as well as a ride-along tour of the production areas. The cost is $65. Seating is limited to 35 people so register early. See the registration form for details.

 Afternoon
The symposium kicks off with some competitive fun! The silent auction is back and has unique gifts, jewelry, artwork, travel vouchers, gift baskets, and so much more. Bidding begins in the afternoon and continues after the evening’s Celebration of America in Bloom Communities.

 4 - 5:30 PM
Mayor & Elected Leaders Reception (By Invitation Only)
America in Bloom is pleased to present an educational and networking program designed exclusively for mayors and elected officials. Participants will network with their counterparts and hear presentations and testimonials from mayors and elected officials who have experienced the many benefits of the AIB program. Refreshments and appetizers will be served.

 5 - 6:15 PM
Opening Night Reception & Silent Auction
This is an informal cash bar event for AIB community delegates to meet each other and participate in the AIB Silent Auction. Come early as there will be lots to see and do! 

6:30 -
8:45 PM
Celebration of America in Bloom Communities
We kick off the Symposium with this dinner and celebration of your achievements. This is a time for food, fun, and awards! Each AIB community will be recognized for their efforts. All Community Champion nominees will be honored. This is where we celebrate YOU and what YOUR community is doing to make America bloom!

 8:45 -
9:30 PM
Dessert Reception & Silent Auction
Enjoy dessert while networking with your peers and making bids on the silent auction items.

Friday, October 4
7:15 - 8 AM
Morning Jolt: Caffeine, Cuisine & Conversation
Thanks to the local host committee, breakfast is provided in a “Taste of St. Charles” format that allows you to sample breakfast foods from area restaurants and chefs. Enjoy great cuisine, a caffeine boost, and conversing with other AIB attendees and the Showcase of Innovation exhibitors. These companies feature innovative products and services relevant to your community.

8 - 8:30 AM
Welcome to the 18th Annual America in Bloom Symposium
AIB Symposium Chair Linda Hart and St. Charles representatives will kick things off and prepare you for the days ahead. 

8:30 -
9:15 AM
Keynote Presentation: 21st Century Landscape Design Concepts for 22nd Century Gardeners
Terry Guen, Terry Guen Design Associates
America in Bloom communities are welcoming, engaging places that promote health and happiness and draw visitors to return again and again. The ecological design work of Terry Guen, FASLA embodies America in Bloom places, which beautify, generate healthy ecosystem services, and encourage people to go outdoors in all seasons. As today’s keynote speaker, Terry will present her transformative “Design for Life” projects, including Chicago landmarks Millennium Park, Lurie Garden, Maggie Daley Park, and Navy Pier. She will discuss how ecological gardening and design is a critical root of environmental, economic, and cultural change. 

9:15 - 10 AM
Planting Hope & Harvesting Dreams
Linda Cromer, AIB board member and judge
Horticulture – flowers, plants, trees – contributes many benefits to people and places. Through real-life examples from AIB participants, Linda will share how horticulture heals and empowers individuals and communities.

10 - 10:30 AM Showcase of Innovation Coffee Talk
This networking break allows you to continue sharing ideas and meeting Showcase of Innovation companies.

10:30 -
11 AM
Thumbs Up to Social Media - How to Showcase Your In Bloom Efforts
Mason Day, GrowIt! Mobile
Wondering why you need social media in your In Bloom efforts? Trying to create a social presence or develop a social media strategy? Mason will share some expert advise on how to create engagement with your community and how America in Bloom can help you showcase your efforts.

11 -
11:30 AM
Meet in the Middle: Media that Wow
Pam Self, Pamela Self Landscape Architecture
Chicago’s Magnificent Mile has 79 planter medians over 2.3 miles. Since 2015, Pamela Self Landscape Architecture has designed the summer annual display. Pam will discuss the process of design, procurement, installation and maintenance of thousands of annuals and their pollinators living in the harsh urban environment.

11:30 AM -  12:15 PM Showcase of Innovation Coffee Talk
This networking break allows you to continue sharing ideas and meeting Showcase of Innovation companies.

12:15 -
5:30 PM
Buses Depart for Lunch & Community Tour of St. Charles
Today you’ll get to experience the beauty of St. Charles, a community that mixes heritage celebration with its hip and cool vibrancy. This “moving classroom” will showcase how
St. Charles’ business, residential, and municipal sectors work together to create a community proud of its history but pushing to the future. The guided tour will be 2.5 hours with breaks along the way. Bring your walking shoes!

5:30 -
6:30 PM
Reception at Arcada Theatre
The historic Arcada Theatre is a landmark in downtown St. Charles. After a brief tour of the theater you will enter through a secret door to step back in time to the Prohibition era where we will enjoy a reception in the theatre’s private speakeasy.

6:30 - 9 PM
Dinner on Your Own in Downtown St. Charles
Dinner is on your own tonight, but reservations assistance will be available when you arrive at the conference. You will see for yourself why St. Charles’ food scene is booming. 

Saturday, October 5
7:15 -
8 AM
Morning Jolt: Caffeine, Cuisine & Conversation
Thanks to the local host committee, breakfast is provided in a “Taste of St. Charles” format that allows you to sample breakfast foods from area restaurants and chefs. Enjoy great cuisine, a caffeine boost, and conversing with other AIB attendees and the Showcase of Innovation exhibitors. These companies feature innovative products and services relevant to your community.

 8 - 8:15 AM
America in Bloom: Where We Are & Where We're Going
John Manchester, AIB President & Mayor of Lewisburg, West Virginia
These are exciting times at America in Bloom, as we launch new initiatives to engage with, inspire, and continue to help communities transform. John will share where AIB is now, but more importantly where we’re going.

8:15 -
8:45 AM
Keynote Presentation: The Link Between Beauty & Health
Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University
In this thought-provoking talk, Dr. Hall will summarize the mechanisms of improved landscapes that impact human health. The link between AIB community efforts and human health not only provide additional support for beautification projects but are the key to finding dollars to help support localized AIB projects. This information will be useful in developing promotional materials in your communities. Don’t miss this session!

8:45 -
9:45 AM
Community Forum
Facilitator: Sue Amatangelo, AIB Judge
This hour-long interactive session will be packed with ideas you take home and implement. Through round table discussions you will hear about solutions – big and small – that can help to transform your community. Come with your own best ideas to share!

9:45 - 10 AM Showcase of Innovation Coffee Talk
This networking break allows you to continue sharing ideas and meeting Showcase of Innovation companies.

10 -
11:30 AM
Meet with Your Judges
These sessions are set up so you can meet with judges and delegates from other AIB communities. Get excellent insight into the ordinary and extraordinary things towns and cities are doing across America. Your judges will share what they saw during their visits to communities and how to enhance your town’s participation in AIB.

11:30 AM -
1 PM
Lunch
Dine al fresco on the patio overlooking the resort grounds. Enjoy lunch at your own pace while networking with other community members.

1 - 4:30 PM
Buses Depart for Cantigny Park
You are in for a treat this afternoon as we head to Cantigny Park, a 500- acre former estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of The Chicago Tribune. During your visit, you can enjoy gardens that span 30 acres of formal gardens, theme plantings, and statuary. It provides exceptional beauty in all seasons. Visit the historic house museum which reveals the public and private sides of one of America’s wealthiest and most philanthropic families. And don’t miss the First Division Museum, a military museum that offers interactive exhibits and fascinating insights about America’s military, past and present.

5:30 -
6:30 PM
Closing Night Reception
This final night cash bar reception allows you to mingle with old and new friends, swap contact information, and make plans to stay in touch.

6:30 -
9:30 PM
Evening in Bloom: America in Bloom Awards Announced
The anticipation goes into high gear with more food, fun, and awards. This final-night event shines the spotlight on the transformative efforts by AIB communities.