Excitement buds for annual event

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published May 6, 2015

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ROYAL OAK — In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Jennifer Clark will head downtown to begin setting up for one of the city’s most anticipated happenings.

The Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce director of events said that she and other volunteers will gather at the Williams Street parking lot at about 2 a.m. to begin setting up for the 22nd annual Royal Oak in Bloom, which will take place from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. May 10.

“It is the annual garden, flower and plant sale every Mother’s Day,” Clark said.

Clark said that Royal Oak in Bloom is also the opening day of event season, kicking off warm-weather outdoor happenings throughout the city until fall.

About 70 different vendors will fill the parking lot outside City Hall and the Royal Oak Public Library, including some new vendors and perennial favorites.

Clark said they will have everything from lawn furniture to flowers to vegetable plants and herbs, to stone and iron art and outdoor lighting — anything needed to create the perfect outdoor space. Lawn and landscape experts and other educational booths will be part of the event.

The Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board will feature MI Rain Barrels and volunteers from the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority.

“People will learn how to manage their stormwater and reduce runoff and pollution from entering our waterways,” said Jennifer Acevedo, Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board member. “There are simple things you can do at home, like mulch, compost, plant native plants and set up rain barrels.”

Acevedo said that SOCWA volunteers will be providing information on mulching, composting, and planting native plants, while MI Rain Barrels will be providing information on rainwater harvesting and selling rain barrels.

“Anything you could possibly imagine will be there,” Clark said.

Clark said the flowers and the popularity of the local farmers are a couple of the biggest draws.

“It’s pretty, and the vendors are all such a joy to work with, and a lot of them are family-owned,” Clark said.

One Royal Oak in Bloom feature that sets the event apart from other flower happenings is the chamber concierge service.

“People can check their purchases like they would a coat,” Clark said.

This frees shoppers from lugging hanging baskets and tomato plants around while they shop. For a donation benefiting the Royal Oak Scholarship Fund, utility vehicles sponsored by Billings Lawn Equipment will drive purchases to shoppers’ vehicles.

“The last two years we have funded a full scholarship from one event,” Clark said.

Hand carts will also be available to transport purchases back to shoppers’ vehicles.

The event takes place on Mother’s Day each year, and Clark said that attending it is a holiday tradition for many families. She said people often tell her that they bring their moms every year.

“I bring my mother and grandmother every year,” City Commissioner Jeremy Marhle said.

Marhle said he will be bringing his two favorite ladies to Royal Oak in Bloom again this year.

“It’s fun. And people like to come, and they do their shopping. It’s where they get their plants every year,” Clark said.

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