For the last thirty years the Sundays River Women’s Institute has staged a Rose Show every October as a fundraiser for various charities they support, and to pay for all the expenses involved in keeping their Valentine Hall in Addo in good repair.
From small beginnings the Rose Show became a highlight of the year for rose lovers and keen gardeners. Crowds flocked to Addo from all over South Africa and even overseas to appreciate the expertise of the flower arrangers and rose experts and to enjoy all facets of a country fair in the Valentine Hall and in its grounds. From a Saturday show it grew to become a full weekend of events, with roses and flowers on display in the hall with a different theme every year.
But sadly, times have changed and the Eastern Cape now has any number of festivals during the year, the economy has taken a serious knock, petrol is very expensive and fewer people attended the Rose Show. The Women’s Institute flower arrangers are mostly elderly and fewer helpers found it more and more difficult to cope with transforming the hall, the specimen tent, and the tea tent. Most of the roses were ordered and flown in from Johannesburg at considerable cost. Sponsors became difficult to find with spiralling costs the WI decided, regretfully, that the time has come to call it a day, and give up having the Rose and Garden Show.
Port Elizabeth based Magnetic Storm, in agreement with the Sunday’s River Women’s Institute, has undertaken to relocate the show to Nelson Mandela Bay for the sake of keeping the Rose Show memory alive and to continue the valuable part it played in raising charitable funds for the community.
The ladies from Sunday’s River plan to remember Rose Day every October by filling the hall with roses out of our gardens and having a high tea amongst the roses to remember and pay tribute to all the WI members who, year after year, put their hearts and souls into organising the rose festival.
The Women’s Institute members are determined to keep their society, which was founded 93 years ago, alive and well and still contribute to charities whilst keeping their charming hall, which is ideal for weddings and special occasions, as a meeting place for Addo.
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