Pleasanton Rose Show returns to in-person after three years


Aileen Hu

The 83rd annual Pleasanton Rose Show took place on Saturday, May 13 at the Pleasanton Senior Center.

On Saturday, May 13th, Pleasanton’s 83rd annual Rose Show took place at the Pleasanton Senior Center. The tradition started in 1940, and became a recurring event that always happens on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. 

“There was this banker who used to give rose bushes to his clients. And because of his generosity, they’d bring him back a rose. So he started the rose show from the roses his clients would bring back and it just became a tradition,” said Brenda Vance, Rose Show event planner.

Due to Covid-19, however, the show was virtual for three years, finally returning to be in-person this year. The event planning started early in February, as the display set-up and side events required more preparation and time.

“We had a committee of about 12 people, and we met every two weeks for two hours at our office at Compass downtown 900 Main Street. And then we started the preparation and started dividing into committees. I was in charge of the raffle and silent auction. Part of that was putting together prizes for the silent auction, like a night at the Rose Hotel, dinner at The Oasis, and such,” said Vance.

This year, the Pleasanton Rose Show partnered with Sunflower Hill. The money raised and earned in the show’s events will be donated to Sunflower Hill to support its programs. 

“We’re the first beneficiary of the Pleasanton Rose Show. They’ve never chosen a charity before, and so we’re their first. Whether we’ll be continuing the partnership will be up to [the planning committee]. Of course we would like to, but they’d have to choose us,” said Jen Lenard-Benson, Sunflower Hill executive director.

To spread awareness about their programs, Sunflower Hill also set up a table at the Rose Show. Visitors could stroll through different categories of flower displays, learn about the show’s beneficiary, and participate in the raffle and silent auction. 

“The proceeds of the silent auction and the raffle are going to be donated to Sunflower Hill. We co-develop affordable housing and offer programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It’s all open to the community to build inclusivity,” said Lenard-Benson.

The planning committee also invited several pianists to perform live during the time when the show opened to public. The peaceful ambiance let locals take their time enjoying the floral sights with their friends and family. 

“For me, I feel like ‘how beautiful this is to do this before Mother’s day every year?’ I feel joyful just being around all these roses. The work that went into it was hard and took a lot, but now, looking at the roses makes me really happy,” said Vance.

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  • The event was held virtually during the pandemic, and only returned to being in-person again this year.

  • The Rose Show is more than a simple exhibit. There are side events that help provide donations for the event and its beneficiaries.

  • Participants brought their roses early in the morning, then judging started at 10:00 AM. The flower exhibit was open to the public from 2:00PM to 5:00PM.

  • Sunflower Hill is the Pleasanton Rose Show’s first beneficiary and will receive the proceeds from the event’s silent auction and raffle.

  • The Rose Show had many different themes and categories participants could submit entries for. All entries were displayed at the senior center after judging.

  • The Rose Show’s planning committee put together themed prize baskets for the silent auction and raffle that took place in the afternoon.