Thursday, April 24, 2003

Flower show has a winner with its new Coney venue



By Joy Kraft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Lisa Bradley and her daughter, Andrea, 3, of Waverly, Ohio, walk through an arch at the Sandstone Gardens display Wednesday, the opening day of the Cincinnati Flower Show at Coney Island.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
Though flowers are definitely the stars of the Cincinnati Flower Show, Coney Island and its Lake Como got many of the rave reviews Wednesday, the show's opening day.

"It's so natural (for the show) with the lake. This makes so much sense with Coney's history in Cincinnati," said Jerri Roberts, at the show with her husband, Jim Thomas, of Wyoming.

Few disagreed. The closest thing to dissent came from Gerald Wirthwine of Western Hills.

"We did enjoy taking the shuttle through those beautiful neighborhoods to Ault Park," the show's previous home, "but this is very nice."

"It's 90 percent improved, especially the parking," said Mary Bell of Villa Hills, strolling with Misha Bell of Park Hills, toting son Jack, 6 months, in a front-pack.

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Flower Show schedule
"It's 150 percent better," said Barbara De Garmo of Monroe. "As far as I'm concerned, it's (Coney) made the whole thing more viable."

Then there's the parking.

Coney has more than 5,000 spaces ($5, $9 valet) compared to the sprinkling of spots at Ault Park, requiring most to park and walk or hop shuttles.

Strung along the park's lake, the show involves more walking, but few were bothered.

"I'm not afraid to walk," said Bob Hampson of Sharonville as he joked about starting a boat shuttle to the restrooms across Lake Como.

"We didn't even think about taking a wheelchair to Ault Park. It was too hilly," said Stephen Thomas of Florence, wheeling his mother, Anne. "We've been all around here though. There are a few rough spots, but volunteers have helped."

A concrete path circling the lake is wide enough, even at its narrowest section, for four abreast. Tents are floored with hinged, rubber mats, artificial grass carpeting or an asphalt-like slurry, making maneuvering easy.

The crowd was strong, and visitors seemed more relaxed than those at Ault Park, where single file was often the only way to go.




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