Leaders of CalFlowers (the California Association of Flower Growers and Shippers) are thanking an improved economy and a growing appreciation for the state’s product for the 10 percent increase in attendance for the organization’s biannual Fun ‘N Sun 2015, held July 29- August 1 in Monterey, California. This year’s event had 510 attendees from 35 different states plus Holland and Canada.
“We believe the general uptick in the economy and growth of the floral business in general has created additional interest in our event and in the business” since the previous Fun n Sun event in 2013, said Michael Lobue, CEO, CalFlowers.
The CalFlowers trade fair enjoyed a 10 percent increase in booths; exhibitors included growers, greenhouse suppliers, logistics and other services.
LoBue, who was hired by the CalFlowers board in the fall of 2015, said one of the highlights of the event that got “very high marks” from attendees was a full-day tour to five different farms in the region: California Pajarosa, CallaCo, CamFlor, Inc., Green Valley Floral and Kitayama Brothers. The event also featured a dinner party at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, five different educational sessions and an all-day Flower Fair, featuring California-grown flowers and greens as well as logistics, technology and greenhouse suppliers.
About 15 percent of attendees were from the retail segment, the highest number from the retail segment to attend to date. “Our members have actively welcomed more and more kinds of attendees and we are encouraging membership in categories beyond our more traditional growers and shippers – retail included,” Lobue said. “Our mantra is and more flowers for all, and the more people get to see them, experience theme and learn about them, the better!”
Photo highlights from Fun ‘N Sun:
Attendees enjoyed an evening of dining and socializing at the breathtaking Monterey Bay Aquarium.
“Trends mean profit,” said featured educational speaker J Schwanke. “And we can react quickly to trends . . . We dig into our coolers and all of our design resources and apply our foliages and flowers to those trends.”
A dramatic series of stunning flower and foliage walls greeted Fun ‘N Sun attendees, featuring all California fresh product.
Rob Shibata, president of Mt. Eden, accepts on behalf of his father, Yoshimi Shibata, CalFlowers’ Distinguished Service Award which recognizes the highest levels of leadership and contributions to the floral industry in California.