Record Numbers for Bloom 2016
Bloom 2016 has been hailed a success with record visitors attending the five day festival
9 June 2016
Just over 115,000 people attended Bord Bia’s Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend. This is a record attendance for Bloom, with glorious sunshine helping to attract huge crowds to the 70 acre site.
Speaking today Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia commented, “It is clear that Bloom has become an important fixture in Ireland’s summer calendar, with visitors enjoying the very best of Ireland’s food and horticulture industry. Since our first Bloom event in 2007, the festival has doubled in size. We’ve welcomed over 800,000 people to the show, showcased over 280 show gardens and hosted thousands of Irish food and drink producers. Over the years, the show has evolved and all of us in Bord Bia are truly proud of our Bloom show and what it represents today. It provides us with an invaluable platform to highlight the creativity and passion that characterises our world-class horticulture and food industry.”
Bloom 2016 by Numbers
As the festival draws to a close, Bord Bia has released some of the event facts and figures from the last five days:
- A total of 4,000 people worked onsite over the 5 days including 200 volunteers
- It will take 14 days to clear the Bloom site (it took 31 days to build Bloom)
- Some 123 Bloom medals and awards were presented to garden designers, nurseries, floral artists, botanical artists and exhibitors
- This year’s show featured 23 exquisite show gardens
- Over 46,000 ice-creams and 40,000 bottles of water were enjoyed in the sunshine over the festival
- 5,685 visitors left plants in the Viking Plant Crèche to be cared for while they enjoyed the festival
- 2,260 children potted plants in the Budding Bloomers Kids’ Area
- Banter at Bloom and GIY Food Matters Stage hosted a combined total of 47 debates, workshops and discussions on a wide variety of topics from food and farming to sustainability and seasonal growing.
- 16,340 people experienced Bord Bia’s new Origin Green sustainability feature and learned what the Irish food and food producers are doing to protect the environment
- Mr. Jeffares Blackcurrants from Wexford, who won ‘Best Stand’ within the Bord Bia Food Village, sampled over 10,000 Vitamin C shots!
- Brady Family Ham sold 1lb of ham a minute over the five days
- Over 21,000 people availed of Bord Bia’s free Shuttle Bus to and from Bloom each day
- Over 200 food buyers attended Bord Bia’s business breakfast at Bloom on Friday morning for meetings with the exhibiting food and drink companies.
VIPs in Bloom
VIP visitors over the weekend included President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Mrs. Sabina Higgins; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; An Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald; China’s new Ambassador to Ireland, Yue Xiaoyong; Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed; Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD and Minister for Health, Simon Harris to mention a few. Many celebrities also attended over the weekend including Niall Quinn, Ryan Tubridy and The 4 of Us, while Ireland’s top chefs demonstrated on the Chefs Quality Kitchen Stage. RTE stars Marty Morrissey, Marty Whelan, Aine Lawlor, Damien O’Reilly, George Hamilton and members of the Operation Transformation team all presented and broadcasted from the Phoenix Park, while Nuala Carey and Evelyn Cusack were inundated with weather prediction requests! Today (Monday), Jack L and Lisa Lambe attracted huge crowds for a live music session on the RTE stage, hosted by Fiachna O’Braonain from the Hothouse Flowers.
What happens next?
Many sections and elements of the 23 show gardens and seven postcard gardens will be rebuilt at various locations around the country over the coming weeks. The GOAL Damascus Courtyard garden will be rebuilt at the Syrian Refugees Centre in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare. According to the designer Brian Burke, the full reinstallation will be completed by mid-July. The UCD gold medal winning garden will soon become an outdoor classroom in the Science Quad at the Dublin University, while the Chinese Yi Garden is likely to move to Herbert Park, although plans are yet to be finalised. The Secret Life of Pets garden, designed by Mark O’Loughlin, will join Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, former Bloom show gardens designed by Mark, at his new Grassland Headquarters, soon to be opened in Naas, Co. Kildare.
Bloom first-timer Paraic Woods will move his ‘Sharing the Load’ garden to St. John of God Hospital, while Bremore Castle will reuse the majority of its show garden in its gate house and Out the Other Side, the Marie Keating garden, designed by Tünde Szentesi is hoping to rebuild at Waterford General Hospital’s Cancer Centre of Excellence. Wicklow’s Hugh Ryan, the designer behind ‘Well Centred’, believes the garden will be rehoused at a medical centre or hospice due to the high level of interest to date. The Designer’s Backyard garden has elements that have been used since the first Bloom, so Oliver Shcurmann, the designer thinks it will now be laid to rest. The Chicago Park District is in discussions to reinstall the Bridge the Gap garden in a public place here in Ireland and finally, RTE One’s Supergarden winner Alex Hollingsworth plans to share her garden with her friends and family who helped her along the way.
Business is B(l)ooming
Artisans, exhibitors and garden designers alike have enjoyed a busy and productive time at Bloom 2016 with many reporting huge interest and buoyant sales onsite. Independent studies in recent years have shown that the onsite sales at Bloom have been valued at over €7 million each year. Kieran Dunne of Kildare Growers Group and the designer of the Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin show garden said his sales in the Plant Village were 50% up on last year, while Newland’s Home and Garden reported an increase of 80% with varieties such as Cornus ‘China’s Girl’ and Lychnis flos-cuculi ‘Jenny’ selling out before midday every day.
In the Food Village, many food producers sold out daily and had to travel to restock their stands, with ProU travelling to Wexford to get more yogurt and the Bretzel Bakery’s William Despard making 8 mile round trips on his bike to his base in Portobello, Dublin to replenish multiple times a day.Kildare’s Brady Family Ham reported sales of 1lb of ham a minute while the Dublin Cookie Co. and Killowen yogurt both sampled 5,000 cookies and yogurts each.
The final day of Bloom also marked the announcement of the People’s Choice Award which was won by Barry Kavanagh from Cavan for his Across Boundaries garden. The winner of this coveted award is voted for by visitors to the show over the five days. Barry also received the Designers’ Choice and a gold medal for his efforts. His garden is focused on highlighting social farming as an alternative option to traditional ‘room therapy’.
Bloom 2017 will take place from Thursday, June 1st to Monday, June 5th 2017 and Bord Bia confirmed planning is already underway.