Communities in Bloom
For the first time since 2019, the local Communities in Bloom committee welcomed judges to Indian Head in July. The town was evaluated for the Circle of Excellence category and will be rated with one to five blooms.
Cooperation between Communities in Bloom members, municipal employees, and community volunteers created to a town worth showcasing. Public works staff assisted volunteers with maintaining common areas in the town and adding the final touches before the judges arrived. This was particularly appreciated since a steady downpour impacted some areas of town the night prior to the judges’ arrival.
On July 19, two horticulturalists and national judges for Communities in Bloom arrived in Indian Head. Lorna McIlroy from Grande Prairie, AB and Linda Tomlinson from Kelowna, BC spent three days touring the town and hearing about various projects throughout the community. McIlroy had been one of the judges for the competition in 2013 and was eager to see the positive changes within the community, such as the efforts to restore the Grand Theatre.
The evening that the judges arrived, they were given a tour of the Bell Barn. The following day, committee members escorted them around town.
“We’re judged on certain categories; the goal of the tour is not to show them all the best things in town, they see the highlights of how we’re working within those categories,” explained Ruth Anne Rudack, president for Indian Head Communities in Bloom.
Some of these highlights included the development of a small park near the former Leo’s pool hall, as well as the growth of Okanese poplar trees near Vale Industries and the community orchard. Throughout the tour, Rudack said they emphasized the community involvement with projects. For example, students from the local school had helped to plant poplars at the orchard. The theme of community cooperation was further demonstrated through conversations with representatives from local organizations like the Natural History Society, Grand Theatre, and Museum.
In addition to viewing horticultural and heritage projects, the judges were also informed about recreation projects within Indian Head. A member of the Elks showed them the playground at Dixon Park and described fundraising efforts. Sgt. Ryan Case gave a similar presentation at the nearly completed Cst. Shelby Patton Memorial Park. Mayor Steven Cole also spoke with the judges about the town’s plans to renovate the outdoor swimming pool.
Rudack felt the judges’ visit went positively but the learning experience is more valuable than the results that will be announced at the Communities in Bloom National Symposium, Oct. 20 to 23.
“The culture that being part of Communities in Bloom has brought to our community since 2004, that culture is that people do take care of their lawns and do trim up and get rid of their yard waste,” she commented. “We’re really only interested in whether we improved; what are [the judges] recognizing as positive things and how can we improve.”