Oct 17, 2019

Holiday cheer grows on campus

Janessa Tyler / The Collegian

The Fresno State Floral Laboratory is decking the halls and walls of homes this holiday season with more than just flowers.

Whimsical Wednesday started last week in the spirit of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Customers receive different discounts each Wednesday until Christmas on both holiday décor workshop series and all available holiday items. Customers must become Fresno State Floral’s friend on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to receive the discounts.

The two remaining workshops series are Thursday, Dec. 9 and Wednesday, Dec. 22 and are hosted by Elisa Castro-Valdez, floral technician and manager.

Silk arrangements that can be used year after year will be the hands-on activity for Dec. 9.

“It may even touch on how to make paper flowers,” Castro-Valdez said.

The Dec. 22 workshop will give customers a chance to make a fresh centerpiece right before Christmas.

Castro-Valdez said they create hand-made bows for everything and that’s one thing that sets them apart from other local floral labs.

A gift wrapping service was started two years ago at the floral lab as a way to have all aspects of the floral industry.

Castro-Valdez said they wrapped around 60 gifts the first year, but didn’t offer the service the second year.

Although the holiday season keeps the workers at floral lab on their toes, it isn’t the busiest time of the year for them.

“It’s a toss-up between Valentine’s Day and weddings in October,” Castro-Valdez said.

Castro-Valdez said the biggest wedding they’ve ever done flowers for was on Nov. 6 in Tulare, Calif. The guest list exceeded 500 people and the bill reached $15,000.

“Our biggest event that we do normally is for Ag One and that’s every couple of years.” Castro said. “The centerpieces for that are always very, very original.”

Student assistants have an opportunity to work on big and small events such as weddings, funerals, award ceremonies and more.

“What we’re here to do is to educate,” Castro-Valdez said. “Most of the students that work here want a position in some type of industry that has to do with floral.”

Many of the student assistants are planning to teach agriculture, become event planners or open a flower shop of their own someday.

“We’re just like any farm enterprise,” Castro-Valdez said.

Plant science major Martha Lopez has been working at the floral lab for one year as a student assistant.

“I like when it’s hectic,” Lopez said. “It keeps me busy.”

Student assistant Jeannette Macias has been working at floral laboratory since May 2007. She recently received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish this past spring and is currently working toward getting a teaching credential.

Lopez and Macias both said they got interested in floral design in high school as part of FFA.

Macias said her workload during the holiday season consists of making bows for the poinsettias, wrapping gifts for costumers, preparing holiday wreaths and arrangements.

“I’ve learned a lot over these past three years,” Macias said. “I’ve been here the longest out of many of the girls here and it’s a really good experience.”

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