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Family Fun Night among activities during AIB judging

It’s more than getting the pretty flowers all mulched up and watered.

When the national judges from America in Bloom come to Ironton on June 30, they want to see it all. And everyone in the city has a chance to play a role in showing off the city.

“The judges will be with us for 28 hours, starting with a meeting at 10 a.m. at the city center,” Carol Allen, of Ironton in Bloom, said.

There city officials will join in a downtown Ironton walking tour with the emphasis on the revitalization projects that are taking place. Next comes a luncheon at Austyn’s with those involved with the financial growth of the city and county.

“This is going to be talking about the economic development of the community,” Allen said. “Then we’re going to take a tour of the underbelly of Ironton, take them to the water plant, the sewer plant, the city garage and the brownfields, those pieces of land that have to be environmentally restored before they can be utilized like Ironton Iron, the Lawrence County General Hospital, old Semet Solvay.”

That night from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Rotary Fountain will be Family Fun Night, a chance for the judges to meet and greet with the citizens of Ironton.

“We are using this event as an opportunity to invite the residents of Ironton to talk with the judges about how they see Ironton growing and the role of Ironton in Bloom and how the city partnership has invigorated this development,” Allen said.

There will be free hot dogs, chips, cookies and soft drinks with music from the St. Joseph High School band. Tables and chairs will be set up in the fountain area.

“We have invited several of our historic members like John Campbell to talk with the judges,” she said. “We want to highlight that fountain area because it is an area that Ironton would like to see as a hub of the community for music and arts events and just general activity. It is an entire block wide so maybe other groups will plan music programs down there.”

The next morning the judges will meet for breakfast at Ohio University Southern to talk with school superintendents.

This will be the second time for the national judges to come to Ironton. They were here two years ago and the city pulled in a first place national award for floral display.

“We don’t have enough money to make a great city,” Allen said. “But we have enough people and leadership that we can create a great city.”