Ahoghill residents have found themselves battling very unseasonal elements as they do their utmost to help the village look its blooming best for a team of Canadian Judges.
The local village has been entered for the ‘Communities in Bloom’ competition under the ‘international challenge (medium)’ category.
Judges, Ted Zarudny from Orangeville, Ontario and Lorna McIlroy from Grande Prairie, Alberta will be evaluating Ahoghill’s floral offerings this weekend.
And to boost their chances in the highly prestigious competition, business people and residents have been asked to tidy up their property before the judges arrive.
Not an easy task considering the spate of recent inclement weather but, as always, villagers are answering the community wide call with enthusiasm - and success!
Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility, beautification and to improving quality of life through community participation and a national challenge.
Ahoghill is through to the final stage in the International Challenge Medium category along with Estes Park (Colorado), Jasper (Alberta, Canada), Stettler (Alberta) and Trail (BC, Canada).
Along with Glenarm they are to be the only participants from the United Kingdom in the major international floral display competition.
Facilitated by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, both the Ahoghill in Bloom and Glenarm in Bloom volunteers are special guests at a Mayoral reception on Wednesday, July 29, attended by Elected Members, the Canadian Consul, an MP, MLAs and Council Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe said: “Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on enhancing green spaces.
“Mid and East Antrim Borough will benefit from the programme through community tourism initiatives, business opportunities for the entire community, and other related projects.”
The initial reception in the Mayor’s Parlour is being followed by a further special event on Thursday, July 30.
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim, Joan Christie OBE will be at Ahoghill Community Centre to present the local volunteers with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. The CIB judging team will be there too to enjoy an evening of rural celebration with as many as 150 other people expected to attend.
Already both Ahoghill and Glenarm are looking their best with what the volunteers hope will be ‘world-beating’ displays.
That is to be tested in the coming days as the judges tour Glenarm on Friday and then Ahoghill on Saturday, August 1.
The CIB judges then leave Ahoghill and Glenarm hospitality behind and fly out on Sunday to the Czech Republic for their next session of floral assessment.