This in from the team at Bloom
Monday, June 1st 2015: Over 94,000 people attended Bord Bia’s Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend. The unpredictable weather didn’t dampen the spirits as crowds poured into the 70 acre site to enjoy the last day of the festival, which marks the unofficial start of the summer season.
Speaking at the event today Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia commented “Bord Bia is privileged to provide this public showcase of Ireland’s world-class food and horticulture sectors, both of which play a significant role in Ireland’s story and economy. Despite the wind and rain, all participants remained in high spirits and reported very strong sales. Planning has already started for 2016 which will mark Bord Bia’s 10th annual Bloom event.”
VIP visitors over the weekend included President Michael D. Higgins, An Tánaiste Joan Burton, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Pascal Donohue and Minister for Health, Leo Varadker. TV presenters Kathyrn Thomas, Eoghan McDermott and Darren Kennedy joined Irish models Sarah McGovern, Olivia Tracey and Rozanna Purcell at the festival. RTE’s strong presence at Bloom 2015 saw Marty Whelan, Aine Lawlor and Joe Duffy’s Liveline crew all present from the Phoenix, while Nuala Carey and Evelyn Cusack were inundated with weather prediction requests!
Bloom 2015 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:
• 123 Bloom medals and awards were presented to garden designers, nurseries, floral artists, exhibitors and botanical artists
• Over 92,000 plants were sold at Bloom
• This year’s show featured 25 exquisite show gardens
• 12,062 plants were cared for in Bosch’s Plant Crèche while visitors enjoyed the festival
• 125 food and drink producers participated
• 3,274 selfies were taken as part of Bord Bia’s #SunflowerSelfies video
• 1,746 kids learned about healthy eating through the Food Dudes fruit and vegetable demonstrations
• The Banter tent hosted 18 debates and discussions
• Over 5,000 visitors tasted the newly launched Raw Juices by McCormack Farms
• The Jelly Bean Factory sampled over 30,000 jelly beans
• RTE broadcast 14 shows from Bloom
• During the 5 days at Bloom, 25 eggs were laid by hens in the Bloom Farmyard
• 10kg of Irish Farmhouse Cheese was sampled every hour at the CAIS Farmhouse Cheese stand
• 5kg of butter was churned while Molly the dairy cow produced 200 litres of milk
• Over 20,000 people availed of Bord Bia’s free Shuttle Bus to Bloom
• Over 150 food buyers attended Bord Bia’s business breakfast at Bloom on Friday morning for meetings with the exhibiting artisan food and drink companies.
• 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)
What happens next?
Many sections and elements of the 25 show gardens will be rebuilt at various locations around the country over the coming weeks. The Irish Country Magazine garden will be donated to the Cope Foundation, while Christopher Byrne’s Cetriz Summer garden will be transported to the University College Hospital in Cork, and all of The GOAL garden will be rehoused across a number of primary schools in Dublin and Kildare. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin garden will see one of its trees planted next week to mark its 60th anniversary of the hospital while Yeats’ Secret Garden is being rebuilt in the Model Centre in Sligo, making it the first outdoor installation there. The Beech Park garden will also be open to the public in Clonsilla from 2016 by Fingal County Council.
Business is B(l)ooming
Artisans, exhibitors and garden designers alike have enjoyed a busy and productive time at Bloom 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 €5 million each year. In the Food Village, Kilmore Quay, the Premium Butcher and Kilbeggan Oats all sold out daily and had to travel across the country to restock their stands. In terms of sales, Mag Kirwan, from Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny noted it was the best year to date. Mag and her team cooked 350 trout each day while travelling to Kilkenny to replenish their stock every night.
According to a Bord Bia’s ‘Garden Market Value’ study released earlier this year, the value of Ireland’s gardening industry is in growth for the first time since 2011 and reached €631 million in 2014. The Nursery and Floral Marquee reported sales of over 92,000 plants – an increase from 80,000 in 2014. Kieran Dunne of Kildare Growers Group and designer of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin gold medal winning show garden said “We have had a fantastic weekend at Bloom and I’m sure the horticulture sector reap the rewards. It provides our industry with an unrivalled promotional and educational platform to reach the public, who seem to have a real appetite for gardening and there’s been a notable increase in their purchasing power.”
The final day of Bloom also marked the announcement of the People’s Choice Award which was won by Darkness into Light – The Pieta House show garden. The winner of this coveted award is voted for by visitors to the show over the 5 days. Niall Maxwell, the show garden designer, also received the Designers’ Choice and a gold medal for his efforts.
Dates for 2016
Bord Bia announced the dates for 2016 which will see the festival celebrate its 10 year milestone. Bloom 2016 will take place from Thursday, 26th May to Monday, 30th May 2016 and planning is already underway.