GALLIPOLIS — America in Bloom judges Teresa Woodard and Karin Rindal traveled the length and width of Gallipolis Thursday and Friday as they were led across a tour of areas of interest and historical significance.
The judges had the opportunity to engage with Gallipolis in Bloom volunteers and supporters during the GIB reception at the Colony Club.
“We came here early and had a chance to preview,” said Rindal. “The two of us like to do that. We like to sneak into town and to get a chance to get the lay of the land. Pretty much from the minute we drove in, we knew we were in a place where the people in the community, especially if you approach the downtown area, take great pride in their yards. It really shows right from the get go.”
The judges said they liked to go into the community and pass out individual door hanger awards by placing a commendation on door knobs for landscaped homes that caught their eye. The judges called the commendations spot awards.
“We got here and there were just so many (homes to choose from) we had a hard time deciding,” said Woodard.
“Gallipolis is full of flowers,” said Rindal. “France has a very similar program called Ville Fleurie for little villages that are usually only a couple blocks. They just pump that area full of flowers. That is the impression I get. Gallipolis is full of flowers.”
Rindal said it was almost a prerequisite that communities taking part in the America in Bloom competition to have a number of individuals “extremely dedicated” in some aspect to making the community better. The judges cited the number of historical organizations and volunteers devoted to beautifying the community in their observations of Gallipolis.
“It’s not just about the flowers but also the heritage and preservation,” said Rindal. “In a way here everything kind of a has a life on its own and its exciting to see.”
Both judges expressed they also liked to see that Gallipolis in Bloom was sharing its techniques with other communities and helping to spread the message of community beautification.
With the judges having left Friday afternoon, Gallipolis in Bloom will need to wait until the America in Bloom Symposium between Oct. 5 and 7 in Holliston, Mass., before it learns of the judges’ suggestions and ratings.
Gallipolis in 2016 was considered as a national small town champion.
Last year, GIB scored 824 out of 1,000 points. In 2015, the organization scored 769 out of 1,000 points. Competitors in the America in Bloom competition are graded on six categories: floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression. Gallipolis rated its highest in heritage preservation and floral displays for the 2016 season.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.