Judging for more than 20 yard and garden growers in the 2021 Hay River Yards in Bloom competition has begun.

Reiss Kruger, coordinator for the contest said that numbers of entries are not as high as in past years which have seen between 80 and 100, however this year’s participation figures are manageable for the committee.

Some of the higher participation numbers in past years have been due to volunteers taking time to visit residents at their yards and encouraging them to join the competition.

“In past years we have ended up having hundreds of people entering and it has sometimes been a gong show to organize with regards to how to judge or how many judges or whether a period of judging is too small and it is a lot for volunteer organization,” he said.

“Our goal was also never to turn it into a competition where someone is trying to win, but rather the goal is try to motivate people and give an extra push to make the town more beautiful.

“It takes the form of a competition in the sense that we judge people’s yards and people can win prizes and things like that, but the objective is not to say ‘My yard is better than yours.’”

Kruger said he is pleased with the entries this year as they are well spread out over the four categories of Amateur Funky, Amateur Town and Country, Master and Commercial and Community Container categories.

A challenge every year is always how to categorize yards and gardens, he said.

In the Amateur Funky Garden and Amateur Town and Country categories, participants put on display their front or back or side yard for its “organization and beauty” and cannot be winners in the past.

Past winners or long-time amateur category entrants compete in the Master Garden class while the Community Flower Container Class is for commercial or non-profit-organizations only.

With some of the odd temperatures that Hay River has seen this year, Kruger said that it may result in some interesting outcomes for yards and gardens.

“The weather this year has been really wonky with either 35 degrees heat or it’s been raining and so there has not really been an in-between for the last month,” he said. “You blink your eyes and it is time to mow the lawn again.

“That being said, I’ve seen some fantastic yards around town and there are some folks that might be able to grow or do things that they might not have been able to do in other years.”

Kruger said an important part of the Yards in Bloom is to ensure that participants are guaranteed privacy and that is why the event mostly provides close-up pictures of gardens.

“The goal is again, really in beautifying the town and just for privacy sake, there are some who want to participate and don’t want to throw themselves out there,” he said.

Judging results are to be done for July 27 at which point the festival committee will tally up the results and provide winning signs for each yard. All participants will receive a more modest sign for being involved.

On August 14, winners will be announced during a presentation at Chamber Park featuring greetings from the town mayor and MLAs as well as a lunch from the Ptarmigan Inn and a slide show.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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