EC Florist Brings Glitter to Gov’s Residence

Barbara Arnold

The dining room decorated by Avalon Floral at the Wisconsin Executive Residence in Madison
The dining room decorated by Avalon Floral at the Wisconsin Executive Residence in Madison

When Sandy O’Connell, owner of Avalon Floral on Water Street in Eau Claire, received a phone call from the office of the first lady of Wisconsin, Tonette Walker, she didn’t believe it. Her shop was one of six Wisconsin florists chosen to decorate the Wisconsin Executive Residence for the holidays and the first from Eau Claire and northwest Wisconsin. Clients Jane Norby and Jane Stromwall recommended her business, which was established in 1996. “The experience was wonderful,” Sandy shared. “Most fun was seeing the beehive of florist activity, and outside, the cranes and booms placing huge garlands of pine boughs.” A month before Decorating Day (Thursday, Nov. 15), Sandy went on a mission to Madison to scope out the dining room and adjacent powder room. Her team, which stayed back at the store, helped pull together what Sandy specified to style the room. On Decorating Day, a second team loaded up a 15-seat van with all the materials to transform the rooms. They left at 5am, arrived by 8am, went straight to work, and with two scrumptious meal breaks, headed back by 1pm. “The color theme was champagne, with white flowers, greens, white lights, ornaments, feathers, sparkles, and glitter, and by the end, all of us were covered head-to-toe in glitter,” Sandy said, laughing. The Wisconsin Executive Residence – aka the Governor’s Mansion – is open for public tours on Dec. 1 from 10am-2pm; Dec. 8 from 1am-noon, and Dec. 12, 13, 19, and 20 from noon-2pm. Tours are first-come, first-serve; no reservations are needed.  For groups larger than 20 people, call (608) 246-5501. 

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