Schedule of Events


Welcome Schedule of Events Registration Hotel & Airport Info Symposium Sponsors

Registration for the 2017 America in Bloom Symposium & Awards Celebration will open in late April.

Thursday, October 5 
10 AM - 4 PM            
SOLD OUT - East Coast Garden Tour (Special Registration Required) 
If you want to experience horticultural heritage in the Boston area at its best, this tour is for you! We'll start by visiting one of the oldest and finest garden centers in the Boston area, Weston Nurseries. Known for offering exceptional plants and garden ideas, this nursery in Hopkinton, MA also has an amazing railroad garden. After touring the garden center we'll enjoy lunch hosted by Peter Mezitt, fourth generation nursery owner. Then we will head to The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley, MA, headquarters of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here we will enjoy special tours of 12 display gardens, including an historic Olmsted Italianate Garden as well as the Bressingham Garden designed by English nurseryman Adrian Bloom. The last stop on the tour is to Wellesley College, rated one of the most beautiful small college campuses in the country. We will have a special tour of their botanic garden which now focuses on the fundamental role of plants in nature and culture. The cost is $50 and includes lunch. Tour is limited to 50 people so register early. See the registration page for details.

1 - 4 PM
SOLD OUT - Urban Farming Institute Tour (Special Registration Required)
If you believe in sourcing local, fresh food, don't miss this tour! The Urban Farming Institute is a brand-new concept in the historically-diverse Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston. The Institute's mission is to develop and promote urban farming as a commercial sector within the city and to create green collar jobs for residents. It is also committed to engaging its urban community in building a healthier and more locally-based food system. The Fowler-Clark-Epstein Farm, currently under reconstruction, is becoming the center for celebrating the agricultural heritage of the Boston area as well as the cultural and historic heritage of this unique community. On this tour, you will see first-hand the work the Institute is doing to enable urban farming through farm creation, farmer training, public education, and policy change, and how the Institute brings people in urban neighborhoods closer to food production. Your tour leader is Barbara Knecht, partner in "Strategies for Cities." Barbara has brought 30 years of developing urban land for public good and a love of all things edible to her work developing urban farm sites. The cost is $35. Tour is limited to 11 people so register early. See the registration page for details.

4 - 5:30 PM
Mayor & Elected Leaders Reception
America in Bloom is pleased to present an educational and networking program designed exclusively for mayors and elected officials from participating AIB communities. Participants will network with their counterparts, and hear presentations and testimonials from mayors and elected officials who have witnessed and experienced the many benefits of the AIB program. Hosted by former Arroyo Grande, California Mayor tony Ferrara and Lewisburg, West Virginia Mayor John Manchester, this forum is a must for all mayors and elected officials. Refreshments and appetizers will be served.

5 PM
Silent Auction & Cocktail Reception
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 - 8:30 PM
Celebration of America in Bloom Communities
We kick off the Symposium with dinner and a celebration of your achievements. This is a time for food, fun, and awards. Each AIB community will be recognized with their Special Mention. All Community Champion nominees will be honored. This is where we celebrate YOU and what YOUR community is doing to plant pride in America.

9 PM Silent Auction Closes
Friday, October 6 
8 AM - 12:30 PM
Showcase of Innovation
Specially-invited exhibitors with innovative products and services relevant to AIB communities will showcase what they have. Make a point to meet with each of them!

8:15 - 8:30 AM
Welcome to the 16th Annual America in Bloom Symposium
AIB Symposium Chair Linda Hart, Holliston in Bloom Co-Chairs Kathy Shore and Mark Ahronian, and Massachusetts State Representative Carolyn Dykema will kick things off and  prepare you for the days ahead. You'll also meet this year's Showcase of Innovation exhibitors.

8:30 - 9 AM
Keynote Presentation: Capitalizing on Your Past to Plan Your Future
Ken Kruckemeyer, board member of “LivableStreets Alliance” and partner in "Strategies for Cities.” Ken specializes in the design of civil infrastructure focusing in pedestrian and bicycle corridors as well as roadway and bridge design.
Historic preservation has become a fundamental tool for strengthening communities. When understood as a combination of physical and human attributes, it can provide a framework for communities to build on their assets and improve health, affordability, prosperity, and well-being. Historic preservation can make it possible to achieve a wide range of public goals, including small business incubation, affordable housing, sustainable development, neighborhood renewal, heritage tourism, and economic development. By examples primarily drawn from his Boston experience, Ken will address the importance of historic preservation and the role that walkable corridors play in an effective immersion in the historic character of a community.

9 - 9:15 AM
Break
9:15 - 10 AM
Panel Presentation: Creating a Sense of Place Downtown
A strong sense of place is vital to the health and prosperity of a downtown. This place embodies a character, look, flavor, and heritage that likely isn’t found in other locations in your community. In this three-part panel presentation, you will learn ways to make your downtown or central area a vibrant place for people to live, work, and visit. John Manchester, Mayor of Lewisburg, West Virginia, will speak on “Getting Your Business Community on Board with Your Beautification Efforts.” Ross Miller, Boston artist, will address “Incorporating Public Art in the Downtown.” Dr. Charlie Hall of Texas A&M University will share “Ideas that Make a Community More Livable.”

10 - 10:45 AM
Panel Presentation: Your How-To Guide to Improving Your Town Through Horticulture
Last year’s symposium survey indicated you wanted more information on using flowers, plants, trees, and edibles to enhance your community. In this multi-part presentation, you’ll learn how to find success with horticulture. Adam Mosley of Pleasant View Gardens will speak on “Right Plant, Right Place, Right Time.” Linda Cromer of AIB community Greendale, Indiana will explain “How to Implement a Tree Inventory.” Drew Becher, AIB board member and formerly of the New York Restoration Project will share the “Value of Community Gardens.”

10:45 - 11 AM Break
11 AM - 12 PM
Pecha Kucha Style Panel Presentation: Stories of Transformation
Hear from communities that have been transformed from the knowledge and recommendations of AIB judges. Not only will you hear their story in the unique Pecha Kucha style, you’ll be able to take home strategies that helped these communities transform from what they were into who and what they are today.

12 - 1:15 PM Lunch & Learn
During lunch at the hotel we will hear from Mount Auburn Cemetery President David Barnett as he gives a sneak peek into what we’ll experience later in the day during our visit to Mount Auburn Cemetery. David will show slides of recent landscape improvement projects and describe how Mount Auburn is carrying out its mission of “inspiring all who visit, comforting the bereaved, and commemorating the dead in a landscape of exceptional beauty.”

1:15 PM Buses Depart for Afternoon & Evening Tours
Hop on the bus! This is your chance to head into Boston. On the way we’ll tour one of the country’s oldest garden cemeteries, walk along the historic Freedom Trail and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and then you will get to explore Boston on your own for the evening.

2 - 3:30 PM
Mount Auburn Cemetery Tour
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831 as the nation’s first garden cemetery. Its success and popularity initiated the rural cemetery movement, which in turn led to public parks beginning with New York’s Central Park in 1859. Recognized as one of the most significant designed landscapes in the country, Mount Auburn was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003. Today it continues its dual role as a sacred site and a pleasure ground, serving as both an active cemetery and a “museum” preserving nearly two centuries of changing attitudes about death and commemoration, and changing tastes in architecture and landscape design. Mount Auburn is noted for its high standards of horticultural excellence and its leadership in environmentally-sustainable practices.

4 - 6 PM
Self-Guided Tour of Historic Boston on the Freedom Trail and Rose Kennedy Greenway
You’re in for a treat as we walk sections of two of Boston’s best known treasures! We’ll walk a section of the Freedom Trail that passes locations significant to the history of Boston and this country. Then we’ll experience portions of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a series of contemporary parks built atop what has been affectionately called “The Big Dig” – a giant tunnel for Interstate Highway 93. A short presentation on the Greenway will be provided so you’ll understand the significance of this park’s development to the community.

6 - 9 PM
Dinner on Your Own in Historic Boston
The walking tour will end in the Historic North End, Boston’s oldest residential community, known for its exceptional Italian restaurants. Whether joining a table with other AIB colleagues or on your own, the North End offers over 100 restaurants and bakeries. Buon Appetito!
6 and 9 PM
Buses Depart to Return to Hotel
For those wishing to return to the hotel following the afternoon tours, the first bus will depart at 6 p.m. For those staying to enjoy an evening in Boston, buses will depart at 9 p.m.

Saturday, October  7 
8 AM - 12 PM
Showcase of Innovation
Specially-invited exhibitors with innovative products and services relevant to AIB communities will showcase what they have. Make a point to meet with each of them!

8:15 - 8:30 AM
Keynote: America in Bloom - Looking to the Future
Everyone in the AIB family – community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, AIB judges, AIB board members, and many others – have provided countless hours to being a real force for good in our country. AIB President Katy Moss Warner will take a brief look at our collective successes, and share some of the exciting things AIB has planned to take us into the future.

8:30 - 10 AM
Community Forum
This is your time to share successes and bright ideas with other AIB community leaders. Each community will have an opportunity to share their best ideas and success stories that others can learn from and take home. This session is guaranteed to fill your notebook with great ideas to take home.

10 - 10:30 AM Break
10:30 AM - 12 PM
Meet with Your Judges
These sessions are set up so that judges and delegates from other AIB communities in their population category can meet. Get excellent insight into the ordinary and extraordinary things towns and cities are doing across America. This year, judges will share what they saw during their visits to your communities and will answer questions about what judges are looking for and how to enhance your town’s participation in AIB.

12:15 PM Buses Depart for Holliston Walking Tour
12:30 - 4 PM
Lunch & Walking Tour of Holliston
Today you’ll get to experience the magic of Holliston. This New England town, full of historic charm, bursts with East Coast “cool.” The Holliston in Bloom team will host us for lunch, and then we get to experience a community where the business, residential, and municipal sectors work together to create a community steeped in history but pushing to the future. The guided tour will be 2.5 hours with breaks along the way. Bring your walking shoes!

6:30 - 9:30 PM
America in Bloom Awards Banquet
The anticipation goes into high gear with more food, fun, and awards. The 2017 Population Category Awards, Outstanding Achievement Awards, You Tube Video Award, and John R. Holmes III Community Champion Award will all be announced.