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The Special Event 2000: Ready to Bloom

RENE VAN REMS implores you to stop and smell the roses when you're networking at The Special Event 2000, Jan. 12-15 in San Diego.

"More than 100,000 stems of flowers will be displayed, tasted and smelled during the convention," says Van Rems, AIFD, director of promotion for the California Cut Flower Commission, based in Watsonville.

That's an impressive number of flowers, but even more inspiring is where the pretty buds are coming from-the cut flower growers of California are donating every last stem. "Attendees will encounter flowers throughout the conference, including in the hotel and on the convention floor," Van Rems says. "We are going to have a pavilion in the convention center where we will showcase a variety of flowers."

MAKES SCENTS The role of flowers in aromather-apy will be a hot topic. "The convention hall will smell like flowers," he says. "We will address the senses-including taste-as edible flowers will also be displayed. In fact, our seminars, taught by six nationally renowned floral designers, will touch all the senses."

Van Rems says that most people appreciate the beauty of flowers, but flowers also "express emotion, whether you're giving or receiving them. When you're dealing with elements of nature, like having wine with dinner, flowers are a natural part of the experience."

Van Rems himself will also be on display during the conference when he takes on the persona of 17th century Flemish painter Ambrosius Bosschaert to present A History of Floral Art: A Flemish Experience. "The stage will be set to take you back to the turn of the 17th century and a presentation of the theatrical world of the arts as it pertained to floral still life," Van Rems says. "The story carries guests from the early days of decorative flowers and symbolism and goes full circle to what we do today. It's a synopsis of the history of floral art in 3-D."

The presentation "is going to be opulent and rich and dramatic," he says. "Because most people in the special event business deal with art on a regular basis, it can help show what flowers can do at an event."

A native of Holland, Van Rems says the intricacies of Flemish floral art are part of his heritage. He's been performing the play for years, ever since the American Institute of Floral Designers approached him to deliver a presentation depicting his native country.

GREENS GIANTS Van Rems has been with the CCFC since its inception eight years ago. It was founded by California growers of fresh cut flowers and greens to market and promote the industry. "We currently have more than 400 growers in the state," he says. "Sixty percent of all domestically grown cut flowers are supplied by California growers. It's a $340 million industry at the grower level." He lists freshness, variety and economy as benefits to buying from California growers.

Van Rems says that attendees at The Special Event 2000 will be surprised at the variety of flowers available from California growers. "All the people who focus on the decor of functions will find our presence a highlight as they experience the bounty of California's floral industry all under one roof."

Resources: Rene van Rems, California Cut Flower Commission, 619/574-6470; The Special Event 2000, 800/288-8606 or 303/741-2901, ext. 3159; or visit:

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