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20th celebrations for Victorian Country Orchid Clubs Challenge

CELEBRATION: Horsham and District Orchid Society member Joy Scott with a cymbidium orchid she will enter in the Victorian Country Orchid Clubs Challenge at St Arnaud next month. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

CELEBRATION: Horsham and District Orchid Society member Joy Scott with a cymbidium orchid she will enter in the Victorian Country Orchid Clubs Challenge at St Arnaud next month. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

By Lotte Reiter
Orchid growers and enthusiasts will converge in St Arnaud for the 20th Victorian Country Orchid Clubs Challenge on July 6 and 7.
The annual weekend event brings together 11 orchid societies from across Victoria to compete for a perpetual shield. The clubs take turns to host the event.
St Arnaud and District Orchid Society has the honour of hosting the groups 20th show.
Event chairman John Welsh, of Stawell, said he was surprised at how well society members and the public had taken to the event, which he said continued to grow each year.
“I never ever dreamt the show would continue for this long,” he said.
“We were actually on a bus trip with about five different orchid club members when I came up with the idea that we should have a combined show, and it has just taken off from there.
“To think it has now been going for 20 years is just fantastic.”
Though it is ‘a lot of work’ hosting the largest country orchid show in Victoria, Mr Welsh said clubs were always eager for their turn.
This will be the second time St Arnaud has played host and society president Kerri Mc-
Kenny said she was keen for the milestone event.
“We had it 10 years ago and that brought an incredible amount of people to the town,” she said.
“Hopefully it will do the same this year.
“So far, I think we have about 120 people booked in for a Saturday dinner, which is really great for a small country club.
“This will be a celebration for the people who like to grow and display orchids to come together for a fantastic weekend. It is such a great achievement.”
Ms McKenny said organisers would be returning to the roots of the event in celebration of its 20-year milestone.
“We would like to make this all about the friendships we have formed and how we can all come together on this one weekend of the year,” she said.
“We’ll be having a barbeque dinner on the Friday because that is how we used to start off the event.
“And then judging starts on the Saturday morning.”
Mr Welsh said five orchid sellers and 18 judges would be in attendance among society members.
He said orchid judges considered the plant’s shape to determine first place winners, though there were various other categories for societies to win.
“The judges will choose an overall club to win a challenge shield, which is a process that takes up to five hours sometimes,” he said.
“The plants have got to be the right shape and have the right number of flowers, that’s the main thing they judge on.”
The show will be open between noon and 4pm on Saturday, July 6, and 9am and 3pm on Sunday, July 7. Orchid sales are from 10am on the Saturday. Entry is $5.

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Posted on Jun 26 2019

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