Couple to design inaugural flowers CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

January 14, 1993|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

Ken and Eileen Gist are going to Washington -- again.

Four years ago, the couple, florists at Stewart N. Dutterer Florist in Westminster, went to Washington to help with the flower arrangements for George Bush's inaugural festivities.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, they will be in Washington as part of a team of almost 50 floral designers who will put together hundreds of arrangements for some 21 sites around the city for Bill Clinton's swearing in.

"We're involved in anything the official Inaugural Committee sanctions," said Eileen Gist. "There will be designers coming in from almost every state, so it will be a national effort with flowers."

The Gists, along with their two daughters, Jalma Brown and Lori Graham, are expecting to do a portion of the design of some half-million flowers to brighten various inaugural functions.

"I expect it will be similar to 1989 and we'll design the flowers for the larger sites around the city," she said.

"The designs have been approved in advance by the Inaugural Committee, and we'll put the flowers together from those designs," she said.

"They have a warehouse in Springfield, Va., that we will work from and we'll stay in a nearby hotel," Mrs. Gist said.

"The Inaugural Committee supplies our housing and pays for a portion of the flowers. They have a budget for flowers, then some are donated."

Yesterday, Mrs. Gist was handling a transportation pool and lining up 30 trucks from Maryland and Virginia to take flowers to the Springfield work site.

"They have people to handle everything, all the details -- processing flowers, separating them, containers for arrangements, security," she said.

It has been a busy month for the couple, who spent a week in California working on the FTD float for the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day.

"I was on the Marketing Committee that was sent by FTD to oversee the building of the float," Mrs. Gist said.

"Jalma also came out and worked on the floats. It was a wonderful experience," she said.

Knowing that the Dutterer florists were on the designer list from the last inaugural, the Gists figured there was a possibility of being called upon for their services.

"If you go and do a good job, you're kept on the list and you're called when a design team is put together," she explained.

The 1993 inaugural will be another wonderful event if the Gists could go to one of the parties, for which they hope to get tickets.

"All the details will be in our packet when we arrive Saturday," she said, admitting she's been so busy with her job for the inaugural that she hasn't had time to think about going to a party.

"But we will take a gown and tux just in case; we'll go prepared," she said.

At the 1989 Inaugural, circumstances kept the couple away from one party they had tickets for, so Mrs. Gist is keeping her fingers crossed for a chance to attend a 1993 party if possible.

"There were 150 designers at the 1989 Inaugural, so it's quite a thrill to be one of under 50 this time," she said.

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