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Hagerstown Kiwanis Club expands rose sale

September 26, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

Somewhere in South America, more than 18,000 roses are being carefully cultivated for the Kiwanis Club of Hagerstown's biggest annual fundraiser, which this year is Oct. 23.

Club members are gearing up for this major effort, especially Bill McGovern, who is chairing the Kiwanis Rose Day event.

"We order the roses through wholesalers in Baltimore. They are delivered the week of Oct. 20," McGovern said, noting the sale has been a club standard since the mid-1950s.

Once the flowers arrive in Hagerstown, the 70 club members gather to trim the roses, "feed" them and put them in buckets of water. The boxes the roses are sold in are then assembled, a task McGovern described as a major undertaking.

As the day of the sale approaches, the roses are put in those boxes and chilled.

"We will start delivering the $18-a-dozen preordered roses on Oct. 22 and 23," McGovern said. "Street sales will be Oct. 23 at a cost of $20 a dozen."

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This year, for the first time, McGovern said, roses will be sold at the entrance of Rose Hill Cemetery. That location is in addition to Long Meadow Shopping Center and Grand Venice Inn.

Volvo Powertrain also will have roses for sale.

"Any other company that would like inside sales of the roses may e-mail us, too ... the sooner the better," McGovern said.

Those preordering roses by e-mail must specify color, who they are going to, and where the person ordering them will be on Oct. 22 or 23. Club members will deliver them, McGovern said.

The club can accept orders until Oct. 23, McGovern said. Payment is due on delivery, unless other arrangements are made. To order roses, call 301-739-2828 or e-mail fnugent@verizon.net.

McGovern said about two-thirds of the roses will be red because that is the color most requested. Yellow roses are next in popularity. Pink, salmon and other colors are available.

The Kiwanis Club sells the boxed long-stemmed roses to raise money to fund children's programs in Washington County.

This year, the sale will fund activities at Girls Inc., Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, The Salvation Army, Mason-Dixon Council Boy Scouts, a Federal Little League team, Children's Village of Washington County and Association of Retarded Citizens.

In addition, more than $5,000 in scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors. McGovern said the club also sponsors leadership development with Key Clubs at both North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown high schools and a youth reading program.

At Christmastime, a holiday party is held for about 60 youth, McGovern said.

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