Red Wing is in full bloom.
Over the weekend, the city was the recipient of two national awards given for community beautification.
At the national America in Bloom Awards ceremony, Red Wing pulled in the top award for communities in its population division. Yet, perhaps more significant is that Red Wing won the overall award for environmental awareness, beating all 30 communities in the competition.
America in Bloom is a national non-profit organization that promotes beautification of communities across the U.S. using eight criteria.
"If I were to pick one out of the eight, the environmental awareness would be most important to me," Diane Hallstrom said. "It's huge."
Hallstrom is one of a number of Red Wing citizens who formed a committee to head up the project of prepping Red Wing for the America in Bloom contest.
"We're so excited," said Terry Yockey, a master gardener and author who, like Hallstrom, is on the local committee and who like other committee members traveled to Rockford, Ill., to attend the America in Bloom award ceremony.
"I was confident until I got there," Yockey said.
Yockey said she impressed with how polished the other communities were and it made her a little nervous. The event was fun, however, she said, and it was especially rewarding because Red Wing "beat even the big guys" for the environmental award.
"Our community's involvement is exceptional," Yockey said.
On June 29 and 30, two judges from America in Bloom came to Red Wing, Hallstrom said. They were taken on bus, walking and bike tours of the city, visiting sites like the Environmental Learning Center, the Goodhue County Historical Center and the Oakwood Cemetery, among other stops.
It was this visit, along with a large amount of written materials underlining the community's efforts, that won Red Wing its reward, which Yockey said is by no means a stopping point.
"It's not over," Yockey said, "We're going to keep our committee together... we already have projects for next year."
"It's doable," Hallstrom said about the upcoming projects.
"It isn't things that cost millions of dollars."
Hallstrom said participating in America in Bloom is more than just winning awards.
She said the judges who toured Red Wing gave the committee many useful ideas.
One they suggested was to ask the granaries along the river if they would paint the city logo on their silos.
Both committee members said what made Red Wing's success possible was the community's all-out effort.