Irisarians to host 75th annual award show in Mio

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MIO — The Mio Irisarians will this weekend host the 75th anniversary of the group’s annual iris award show, which may be the longest-running of its type.

The annual iris award show is returning to Mio after spending a year each in Alpena and Hale. Irisarian Pauline Cournyer said the event rotates among the three cities as the Mio group’s membership has spread wider over the years.

Cournyer said in the decades that she’s been involved with the group she’s made some long-lasting relationships.

“I’ve been involved for about 40 years,” Cournyer said. “Some of the people that were a part of the iris club as kids are in their 50s still participating 40 years later.”

Cournyer said not much will change from previous years’ shows for the 75th anniversary. However, fellow Irisarian Ruth Leach-Hershberger mentioned that this year the club has reached out to Guinness World Records to find out if it truly is the longest-running iris show in the world.

Cournyer said she expects there to be roughly 200 entries into the award show this year for single flowers, and about 30 for arrangements. Leach-Hershberger said the award show will be judged by official judges who come from the southern portion of the state. Ribbons will be given out to the top three winners in each category, and a best in show type of award will be given out as well.

Leach-Hershberger said if residents would like to see some irises before the event, visit the Mio branch of the Oscoda County Library. A small iris garden is planted there in honor of the originator of the iris club, Ben Azer.

The event will be held June 8 and 9 at the Mio community center. Those who wish to participate are expected to have their entries prepared for judging at the community center by 10 a.m. on the 8th. Doors will be open for viewers from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on the 8th, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 9th.

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