There may not be many signs of spring in Sequim, but there is one: the colorful flower baskets hung on lamp posts along Washington Street.
According to organizer Emily Westcott, the program is a win-win situation for the city of Sequim, the residents, local businesses and the Sequim High School horticulture class.
"Without (that) horticulture class, it wouldn't happen," said Westcott, who explained that the baskets are organized by the Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by businesses and individuals, created by horticulture students and maintained by the city.
Westcott began organizing the program in 1997 and added business sponsorship to the already-existing idea of hanging the baskets. Along with the hanging baskets, Westcott said there are also a dozen or so "whiskey kegs with flowers" around town, including outside of Creamery Square and the Museum and Arts Center.
"I thought it would be a great way to promote local retail," Westcott said.
The majority of the sponsorship profit goes to creating more baskets and the city's Christmas light show, although a portion also goes to sending the horticulture students to Victoria's Butchart Gardens.
According to Westcott, the successful program will be a Sequim institution for years to come.
"I think everybody in town just loves them ... and tourists just rave about them," she said. "They're bigger and better than ever this year ... they look good already and they haven't even bloomed yet."
While many baskets have been sponsored already, Westcott said she welcomes both past and new sponsors. This year, she mailed letters to all past sponsors that they could return, making the task simpler for both sponsors and organizers. Westcott added that there is also an opportunity to sponsor all three baskets that decorate the "Welcome to Sequim" signs on either side of town; if the same business sponsors all three, Westcott said the business will get a plaque that is more visible to residents.
Basket sponsoring is $100 and the name of the sponsoring business or individual is displayed on the pole of the hanging basket, along with the name of the SHS horticulture student who created it. For more information on sponsorship, contact Westcott at 683-0183.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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