One competition that's been a part of the South Plains Fair for many years is set to end. This is the last year the Flower Festival Competition will be part of the fair, which as NewsChannel 11 learned, comes after a difficult decision.
Every September for 15 years, Billie Ramirez has come to the South Plains Fair. "I grew up here, that was the thing you do, go to the fair," Ramirez said.
Ramirez says part of her fair ritual includes a walk through the Flower Festival Competition. "The arrangements, they attract my attention," Ramirez explained.
However, as she entered the building this year, Ramirez and others were faced with a sad reality. This is the last year blue ribbons will be given out for flower arrangements and flowering shrubs. "We put a sign up when you come in. We purposely put that up there so the public would know," Flower Festival Competition Chairman Keith Moffett said.
Moffett says after last year's show it was decided 2008 would be the last. "The decision certainly did not come easily," Moffett added.
Moffett says one of the biggest factors is the dwindling number of judges. "As each year goes by obliviously the judges get a year older, health issues kick in and it has gotten to a point there is just not a large enough pool of certified judges within our area," Moffett explained.
Moffett also adds no younger green thumbs have stepped up to fill the empty positions.
Ramirez says she is sad to see a fair tradition end and never expected this would be the last time she walked out of the Flower Festival doors. "We like to go to these (exhibits) in particular, sometimes we don't even make it to the games," she said.
The Flower Festival closes its doors for the last time when the fair ends Saturday night at 10 p.m. We are told that next year the building will house the Red Cross and any lost children.
|September 19 - 27|
Panhandle South Plains Fair