Bord Bia’s annual Bloom festival, which opens to the public in the Phoenix Park, Dublin tomorrow morning (Thursday, June 2), will mark its 10th year to celebrate food, horticulture and gardening by offering plant lovers, gastronomes, farmers and families more to smell, see, touch and taste than ever before. The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will officially open the five-day festival mid-morning tomorrow (Thursday, June 2). This year’s show features 23 show gardens, more than 100 Irish food and drink producers, 200 retailers and 50 of Ireland’s top nurseries, all providing gardening tips, artisan food, craft beer and much more to more than 100,000 visitors who are expected to attend over the five days of the festival.
Since the first year of the festival in 2007, the show has doubled in size to a 70 acre site. Attendances have also skyrocketed, with Bord Bia hoping to welcome 100,000 visitors this year, compared to just 40,000 in year one.
The centrepiece of the festival once again promises to be the show garden area, where themes this year range from the 1916 Rising and the war in Syria, to social farming and the evolution of plants. Apart from a record eight large gardens on display this year, this year’s competition will also showcase gardens from Chile, China and Chicago, giving the show garden area a truly international feel.
Speaking ahead of opening day, Bloom manager, Gary Graham, said: “Everyone in Bord Bia, and all those who are involved in the show in some way, have worked especially hard this year to ensure our visitors enjoy our 10th Bloom festival more than ever. While this is very much Bord Bia’s event, we could not put it together without the support of so many people. Hundreds of workers have been helping to build Bloom over the past 30 days, while more than 4,000 people, including 200 volunteers, will work onsite over the five days.
“As Bord Bia’s flagship horticulture and food event, Bloom provides us with the ultimate platform to showcase some of Ireland’s most talented garden designers, horticulturists and food and drink producers. There is no other event in the country that you will find all these incredibly talented people on the one site for five days and so readily accessible to the public.”
The festival will also provide a welcome boost to Ireland’s horticulture industry. Apart from an average annual Bloom spend of just over €7 million, including the purchase of some 90,000 plants, Irish consumers will spend up to €30 million on gardening, foliage and landscaping in the months following the show, according to research carried out by Bord Bia last year.
Bloom 2016 will also feature cookery demos from some of Ireland’s top chefs, fashion shows, public debate, music, an open farm, and a kids’ play area, along with many other forms of free entertainment. (See below for a full list of Bloom festival highlights)