Alexandria, Virginia – In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the American Floral Endowment transformed their Annual Fundraising Dinner into a Virtual Mask-erade, which featured a photo contest sponsored by Rio Roses. The contest ran from August until mid-September and encouraged participants to use their Giving to Grow event mask to design their own mask-erade look. The best mask-erade photo wins 50 stems of Rio Roses sent to them monthly for an entire year starting this month!

Out of over 90 entries, Cactus Flower Florists in Scottsdale, Arizona won and will be receiving FREE roses for a YEAR! Rio Roses conducted scoring based on design technique/creativity, uniqueness, and location/background.

Presenting the winning mask-erade look is Cactus Flower’s mask model and Event Designer, Jackie Lee:

The American Floral Endowment’s Manager of Communications and Outreach, Karin Krause, spoke with some of the Cactus Flower Florists’ team, President & Owner, Eric Luoma, and Head Designer, Phil Dickinson, to learn a bit more about why he supported the Giving to Grow Virtual Mask-erade, what inspired the winning mask-erade design, and get a better understanding of Cactus Flower’s background.

Q. Why did you get involved in AFE’s Giving to Grow Virtual Mask-erade?

A. “My friend and fellow florist, Ken Young, asked Cactus Flower Florists to support the American Floral Endowment by participating in the Giving to Grow Virtual Mask-erade to give back during this challenging time,” said Luoma. “I jumped at the chance and asked our design team to curate elegant mask décor that we could not only share with fellow florists, but to our own clientele in the Scottsdale area.”

As a member of our Board of Trustees, Ken Young, regularly promotes AFE’s events and initiatives to his network in the floral industry. AFE is extremely grateful for all of the Board’s efforts, which ensured that our mask-erade was a success.

Q. Why did Cactus Flower Florists choose to support AFE?

A. Luoma noted, “When my parents Fred and Sharron Luoma opened our doors in 1972, AFE was already educating florists across the country on how we could be stewards of our floral community. AFE continues this today by providing scholarships to floral professionals, chain of life training to keep flowers beautiful for longer and research programs for our future. My sister, Kristina Dyrr, and I support AFE because AFE supports us, our family business, and betters the floral community.”

This upcoming year will actually mark AFE’s 60th anniversary of supporting the floral industry through scholarships, internships, grants, and other industry programs. The funding from the Virtual Mask-erade will go help fund these initiatives along with new research and development during a time when the industry especially needs the ability to adapt and face new challenges.

Q. What inspired your mask design and photo?

A. “I was inspired by the colors of our Arizona sunsets and paired the mask with a bridal bouquet being created in the design room by our mask model/event designer Jackie Lee. The result was an elegant design using […]