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Over 1,200 expected at FPFC South

About 250 exhibitors, using all available floor space, an expected crowd of 1,200 attendees, the 2013 Floral Achievement Award, a floral design contest and a keynote address by Joe Theismann, former star quarterback in the National Football League-these are on tap for the Southern California Expo in Anaheim, CA, July 16, the year’s biggest event for the Fresh Produce & Floral Council.

Under the slogan, “Fresh Possibilities,” the trade show will begin at 8 a.m. with its Keynote Awards Breakfast, including the Floral Achievement Award presented by Chris Robinson of The Pinery, the 2012 recipient. The winner is chosen by a panel of past recipients to recognize an individual who has provided outstanding service and dedication to the floral industry, said Carissa Mace, head of the council.

Theismann’s speech will conclude the breakfast session. He has worked as a sportscaster covering NFL games for the past few decades, and now is seen on the NFL “Playbook” TV show. A University of Notre Dame star who led the Fighting Irish to two Cotton Bowls, he played for the Washington Redskins from 1974-85 and led them to victory in Super Bowl XVII. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Football Like a Pro.

The expo floor at the Disneyland Hotel will open at 10 a.m., also the starting time for the floral design contest, pitting 35 designers, five from each of seven supermarket chains, in a race against the clock with a set of mystery products arranged to illustrate an announced theme. The contest ends at 11:30 a.m. Last year’s winners were Reza Shafiei of Ralph’s and Debi Kordones of Bristol Farms.

Box lunches will be available in the exhibit hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Winners of the floral design contest and best booth awards, and other prizes, will be announced in the hall at 2:30 p.m. At 4 p.m., the exhibit hall closes and the show ends. Floral products remaining at the end of the show will be donated to senior centers and schools for disabled children.

An expected crowd of more than 1,200 will represent almost 100 companies and organizations, most sending teams of retail sales and food service staff to the event to meet with suppliers first-hand, many for the first time. Retail and foodservice workers attend the show free. Also on hand will be college students and their mentors, hosted by the Produce Marketing Association Foundation for Industry Talent.