Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 and 2022 events took place outdoors for the first time in the show’s history. Planners plan to bring some of these new experiences back to the Pennsylvania Convention Center during next year’s event, taking place March 4-12.
ABOVE PHOTO: (Graphic by Pennsylvania Horticultural Society)
By Amy V Simmons
Over the past two years, organizers at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society have had to meet the expectations of both loyal visitors and newcomers. Reinventing a traditional, world-famous event in a new setting and at a different time of year was both bold and risky.
Yet despite the fact that there was no guarantee it would all work out, it did.
During a recent press conference held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where the event will return in March 2023, officials were keen to highlight lessons learned over the past two years, but also celebrated the award-winning show’s return to its hall, late winter roots — which is part of its Charmes and their attraction is.
“The Flower Show is like no other,” said PHS President Matt Rader. “It’s a home festival. We should be very proud of that here in America’s garden capital. No other US city has anything like it, and the world knows Philadelphia for this event.”
“The last two outdoor flower shows at FDR Park have really challenged us to create new experiences for guests while always keeping health and safety in mind,” said PHS Director of Experiences and Engagement Rebecca Schuchart. “We’ve created live music performances, upscale craft experiences, enhanced retail opportunities, and spaces for children and families. These make the Flower Show an event that has something for everyone, whether you’re an experienced gardener, a planter, a parent, or just looking for a fun, beautiful, engaging floral experience. As we return to the convention center, we won’t leave behind those amazing moments and incredible atmosphere that our guests loved at the FDR portion. Instead, we’re taking the very best elements of the outdoor Flower Show and bringing them indoors, and we’re reinventing the experiences people know and love from the indoor Flower Show.”
The brief turnaround between the 2023 show and last June’s event hasn’t dampened attendance or enthusiasm, Schuchart said.
“We’re used to getting things done quickly because when we plan for the present, we also think ahead for the future,” she said. “Well, to be perfectly honest, when we were planning the show last year, in the end, as we were preparing to invite, we were preparing for this one as well.”
Keeping the theme fresh, inspiring and exciting each year is a priority.
The 2023 show theme – “The Garden Electric” – is no exception.
The Garden Electric takes the position that flowers and gardens can be places of magic, celebration and joy and excitement and we aim to capture that little bit of magic and electricity that we feel when we are moved by something real beautiful or something spectacular,” said Seth Pearsoll, creative director of PHS. “Unlike the previous two years, in which we explored themes around restoration and serenity, the Garden Electric will explore the bold, daring and eccentric side of flowers and gardens.”
A popular addition to the Flower Show over the past two years has been live music. This new tradition continues at the convention center led by SNACKTIME – a local seven-piece band that rose to fame during the height of the pandemic, when live outdoor performances were the only option for musicians and the public. The bandstand will also feature other local artists throughout the event – all free of charge.
The Kids Cocoon play and study area – another popular feature that’s also free – returns.
Additionally, the show continues to offer unique add-on experiences and activities tailored to the return to the convention center for a modest fee. A number of those now-familiar flower show traditions will return, including the early morning tour program – which will be expanded to include weekend tour times – the Bloom Bar, Artisan Row, Butterflies Live!, guided photo tours, pot parties and more.
For more information about the Flower Show 2023, including tickets and prices, visit: www.phsonline.org/the-flower-show or email: [email protected].