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When A 50 Year Old Affair is a Good Thing

The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce announces the 50th Anniversary Delray Affair April 13- 15, 2012.  This is a festival that truly expresses happiness, joy and community comraderie.   The event takes place from Friday April 13th  10:00 am – 6 pm; Saturday April 14 10:00 am – 6 pm and Sunday April 15 10:00 am – 5:00pm.

Produced by the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, the festival spans from the Tennis Center east to the intracoastal!  The festival showcases over 700 exhibitors, four food courts, two beer gardens featuring live music and more.

The Delray Affair was originally known as The Delray Gladioli Festival which was created in Delray Beach, FL shortly after World War II in 1947. The festival enabled farmers to display and sell their flower varieties. Farms that spanned from Congress Avenue to US Highway 441 participated in this festival to make some money. It was held each February in the 40′s and 50′s. It attracted both tourists and local residents and included activities such as a parade and the Miss Gladiolus Beauty Pageant.

“It was an exposition that attracted flower buyers from all over the country,” said Roy Simon, a Delray Beach native and former Chamber of Commerce member that has been a volunteer since it was the Gladioli Festival. He helped the festival evolve into what it is today.

Due to development and a transition from flower farming to vegetable farming, The Delray Gladioli Festival died out and transitioned into the small Agricultural Expo. Roy Simon envisioned more for the Expo and was inspired to add art by the Winter Park Art Festival. Wanting to improve upon the festival and increase profit for the community, Simon helped gather local community leaders for an organizational meeting. It was at this first meeting in 1962 that the committee and their chair, John Bordeman, chose “The Delray Affair” as the name of the festival that would now include arts and crafts in addition to agricultural goods. The affair was developed to extend the snowbird season by one week so that city merchants could make some more money during the slow season.

The festival is held in Downtown Delray Beach along Atlantic Avenue. It’s famous for having brick sidewalks and being lined with palm trees. The festival always takes place on the weekend after Easter in order to extend the tourist season and create an incentive for seasonal residents to stay longer. The festival has grown from 24 exhibitors in 1962 to now having over 700 exhibitors with nearly 300,000 people that attend. Admission is free however it costs $5 for public parking.

The festival was originally created so that Delray Beach merchants could make some money during the slow season in April. The dates are always on the weekend after Easter so that merchants can profit from the snowbirds that extend their stay by a week to stay for the festival.

Over the years, The Delray Affair has made an economic impact of over $21 million for the city of Delray Beach. According to the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, The Delray Affair plays a very important role in tourism which is one of their major industries. Tourism generates a direct annual economic impact of $2.8 billion in the local economy, $23 million in bed-tax revenue and lodging sales of approximately $623 million.

For specific information about parking garage locations, vendor locations and the entertainment schedule go to: www.delrayaffair.com

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Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

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