Kroger invites public to view creation of Derby garland | News
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Kroger floral designers will pull an all-nighter on Derby Eve as they craft the Garland of Roses for Kentucky Derby 138, and the public is invited to watch.
Work on the coveted garland will begin Friday night, May 4 at the Middletown Kroger store at 12501 Shelbyville Road. The best time to view the garland's creation will be from 4 p.m. through 11 p.m. Derby Eve, according to a Kroger press release.
The completed garland will be on display at Kroger until 8:30 a.m. on Derby Day, Saturday, May 5. At precisely 8:45 a.m., the completed garland and the Jockey's Bouquet will be transported to Churchill Downs with a police escort. It will be displayed in the Clubhouse Gardens under the jockeys' balcony from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., weather permitting.
"The Garland of Roses has become such a worldwide recognized symbol of the Kentucky Derby that its very creation has become an integral part of the Derby tradition and an event in its own right," said Carol Belser, manager of the Kroger Floral Center in Louisville.
Last year, more than 6,000 people turned out to watch Kroger florists make the garland for Kentucky Derby 137.
The first Kentucky Derby Garland of Roses was designed by Louisvillian Grace Walker 1932 at the request of Churchill Downs. It replaced a horseshoe of roses that had been presented to previous Derby winners.
Walker designed another 34 garlands for the Kentucky Derby. To honor her memory, Kroger faithfully follows Walker's last design, which she completed in 1967.
Kroger florists began creating this piece of history in 1987 when Derby winner Alysheba won the Run for the Roses.
The Derby Garland is 122 inches long and 22 inches wide and weighs approximately 40 lbs. More than 400 Freedom roses are place on the garland. Each stem is inserted into its own water vial hidden inside the garland backing. All of it is carefully hand-sewn into place on a layer of thornless greenhouse foliage.
Continuing a tradition that started with the 112th Kentucky Derby, the garland is adorned with an ornate crown of roses, green fern and red ribbon. A single rose stands as the focal point in the center of the garland. It points skyward, symbolizing the struggle, the sacrifice to stand out from all others, and to stand alone for one brief, shining moment in the Winner's Circle of the Kentucky Derby.
The Seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is embroidered at the bottom of one side of the garland with the Churchill Downs event mark on the other side.
The crowning finish includes a unique design of roses and satin ribbon streamers commemorating Derby 2012 and the 138th Kentucky Derby. The number of roses in the crown will correspond to the number of Thoroughbreds competing in the race.
"Kroger is very proud that Churchill Downs entrusts this important part of the Derby tradition to our team of floral designers," Belser said. "It's a thrill to see their craftsmanship televised around the world on Derby Day."
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