LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing the tradition that began in 1987, with the 113th Kentucky Derby, Kroger master floral designers are again honored to create "The Garland of Roses". The event will take place on Friday, May 6th, at the Middletown Kroger store located at 12501 Shelbyville Road, in Louisville, KY. The best time for visitors to see the crafting of this year's Garland will be from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Derby Eve. Last year, more than 6,000 people came to see this all-night event.
Kroger will have the completed Garland on display until 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 7th. At precisely 9:30 a.m. the day of the race, the Garland, along with the Jockey's Bouquet, will be transported to Churchill Downs in two 2016 Ram ProMaster vans with a police escort. It will then be on public display near the Clubhouse Garden under the Jockey's Club Balcony from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Kroger designers will be on hand to answer questions and speak with the spectators.
"With the Garland of Roses being such an important part of the Kentucky Derby tradition it is a true honor for our team of floral designers to be involved," said Carol Belser, Manager of the Kroger Floral Center in Louisville.
The history of the Garland dates to 1932, when the first one was designed by Louisvillian Grace Walker at the request of Churchill Downs. It replaced a horseshoe of roses that had been presented to previous Derby winners.
The Derby Garland is 122 inches long and 22 inches wide, and weighs approximately 40 lbs. More than 450 Rainforest Alliance Certified "Freedom" roses are placed on the garland. Each stem is inserted into its own water vial hidden inside the garland backing and carefully hand sewn into place, on a layer of thorn-less greenhouse foliage.
The "Freedom" rose embodies elegance and grace in keeping with the high standards of excellence exhibited in the Derby. The roses are framed with an attractive hand-made border of boxwood, camellia and coffee leaves. To complete the design, custom-made ribbons are tied to fronds at each end and to the crown of roses at the center. A special rose is placed in the center to symbolize the struggle and heart needed to reach the Winner's Circle.
Along with the Derby Garland, Kroger is honored to create the Oaks Garland for the 25th consecutive year. This event is open to the public and will also take place at the Shelbyville Road Kroger from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 5th.
The Oaks Garland has a slightly feminine look; with more than 140 white Star Fighter Lilies. Each blossom is hand tied into its own water vial. "The Lilies for the Fillies" is 20 inches wide, 116 inches long and weighs approximately 20 pounds upon completion. The Garland is trimmed in a border of Oak Ivy leaves symbolic of this prestigious event.
Every day, the Kroger Family of Companies makes a difference in the lives of eight and a half million customers and 431,000 associates who shop or serve in 2,778 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Kroger and its subsidiaries operate an expanding ClickList offering – a personalized, order online, pick up at the store service – in addition to our 2,231 pharmacies, 784 convenience stores, 323 fine jewelry stores, 1,387 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants in the United States. Kroger is recognized as one of America's most generous companies for its support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.
SOURCE The Kroger Co.