Volunteering for Shows

Most folks are much more comfortable volunteering once they have a good idea of what’s needed & the duties their position entails.

Being a show steward is an opportunity to see and hear the judges in action and become familiar with the operation of a garden show. It doesn’t require knowing about all the different classes and cultivars of flowers/herbs/vegetables. A novice steward is always paired with an experienced one.
Duties include:

  • being present at the show venue on Friday (6:30 pm) with your schedule to help get ready for the show
  • helping set the tables up according to the floor plan
  • covering the tables with our tablecloths and then placing the dividers for each division/class of exhibit as per the Show Schedule
  • stewards are welcome to enter exhibits in the show, but it’s best to place your entries Friday evening or prepare them at home on Saturday morning for placing immediately upon arrival (entry slips are available in advance at the general meeting & on Friday night)
  • being present at the show locale on Saturday (8:30am) with your schedule
  • offers help to exhibitors as they place their entries. Sometimes in the rush of preparing & placing exhibits, some might be placed in the wrong division. Keep a watch for this. Point out to the exhibitor if you see an exhibit that might be in the wrong place. DO NOT MOVE THE ENTRY YOURSELF.
  • Once the judging commences, a judge may ask you to move an exhibit to a different class or they may create a new class. This is Judge’s Discretion.
  • Just as Judges work in pairs, so do stewards. One steward records judges’ comments and the other one sees that entry slips stay with the correct exhibit. AFTER judges have chosen Best in Show for each category, stewards should expose the names of the exhibitors.
  • Stewards lunch with the Judges & other members of the show committee. As the Judges are a friendly group and eager to help us learn, this is a good opportunity to ask questions.
  • If you’re at the show when it closes, please help tidy up. Many hands make light work.

Clerking is the term used for volunteers who gather information from the entry forms. Duties include:

  • Count the number of exhibits in each class. If there are no entries in a class for several years that class may be dropped from the show.
  • Collect information on judges’ decisions. That information is given to an experienced clerk who enters it into the computer. Points are awarded for whatever placement the exhibit was given by the judges. The highest number of points in each category wins the trophy.
  • Place the appropriate ribbons.
  • Be sure to fold the exhibitor’s name out of sight after recording the information. Judges do a Best in Show of all categories after every individual exhibit is judged. The senior clerk gives a list of trophy winners to the Chair plus a list of how many exhibits were in each class. This forms part of the report done on each show.


  • There should be at least two volunteers at the table at all times.
  • Keep the Sunset and Western Garden books near the table for reference in naming plants and when a buyer asks about conditions for growing a plant.
  • Price and name items to sell. Be mindful of the price you would pay at a garden club sale. Even though we ask members to price and name items before donating this is not always done. Ask the coordinator for our standard pricing.
  • If there are lots of donations, especially duplicates, keep some items back or under the table to be brought out later.
  • Inform all who bring donations to check at the end of the show. If the item has not sold they are to take it home.
  • Ensure that baked items are named and priced by the donor. If not, try to get this information when the item is delivered or attach a price comparable to other donated items.



  • The Show Coordinator works with the Show Chair and is available for consultation at all stages as needed.
  • Contact Newsletter editor to ensure the show and dates will be well advertised in the appropriate month’s newsletter.
  • Contact trophy/ribbon/door prize organizers to ensure all are being taken care of and will be available for the show.
  • Ensure the following duties are arranged for and contact if necessary:
  • Clerks (3); Stewards; Sales table and helpers; Social Convener and helpers for the kitchen; Photographer; Flowers for tea tables as well as an arrangement for luncheon table; Judges are booked and get their names for name tags.
  • Ensure there are plenty of entry forms for exhibitors.


  • Be at the hall by 6:30 pm Friday night and 8:30 Saturday morning to ensure entry is available for entrants. Open VRGC cupboard for show supplies.
  • Give a 5-minute warning to exhibitors that set up time is over.
  • Greet judges on arrival, give name tags and offer coffee. They may do a walk-through with you before judging. Give each a schedule.
  • Warn social convener when it appears judging is almost over. She can judge when to serve lunch.
  • After lunch, make sure the treasurer is ready at the door to take entry fees and give out tickets.
  • Open the door at the appropriate time for the general public.
  • Announce winners and draw for door prizes at appointed times. Thank all volunteers and exhibitors for their participation. Ask the president to say a few words if he/she desires. Gather all winners for one big picture of all after show.


  • Save a poster for your report;
  • Ask clerk, steward and treasurer to send reports to you;
  • Summarize all reports into your report as Chair, including a copy of the schedule, the poster and all reports;
  • Deliver your report to the Show Coordinator.

Even if you’re not available on the day of a show, you can take part in mounting a successful VRGC Garden Show by contributing to the sales table.

  • Pot up any spare plants you may have in your garden or greenhouse or start seedlings of parsley, chives, herbs, sweet peas, etc.
  • Bring them to the Wheeley Hall on Friday, after 7pm.

updated May12, 2022View Royal Garden Club logo