2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show details announced

Hang ten in Philadelphia when the Flower Show comes to shore. Opening March 4, this eight-day event will awaken the senses with millions of tropical plants in full-bloom and give gardeners at all skill levels endless ideas. (Photo: Neftali Ortiz)
Hang ten in Philadelphia when the Flower Show comes to shore. Opening March 4, this eight-day event will awaken the senses with millions of tropical plants in full-bloom and give gardeners at all skill levels endless ideas. (Photo: Neftali Ortiz)
Posted: January 26, 2012

Against a backdrop of colorful leis, table orchids and hula dancers, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society kicked off the 2012 flower show this morning: "Hawaii: Islands of Aloha" opens to the public March 4 and runs till March 11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Market Streets.

"This is a show like you've never seen before," said PHS President Drew Becher, who outlined new features of the 183-year-old event, officially known as the Philadelphia International Flower Show, before an enthusiastic crowd on the 33d floor of the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Center City.

On entering the show, visitors will immediately experience motion graphics designed to simulate the ocean floor with waves crashing overhead. There will be a 25-foot (real) waterfall, thousands of orchids and other tropical plants, and four showcase exhibits depicting Hawaii cowboy culture, a destination beach wedding, "the hula as inspiration," a fancy surfers' retreat and a "rocky garden of the gods," according to Sam Lemheney, the show's designer.

Dancers, musicians, and crafts people will be coming from Hawaii, although the hula dancers and musicians at today's kickoff were from the Aloha Style dance troupe in Narberth. (One of the dancers, Kimi Artita, a water resources engineer from Bryn Mawr, was born and raised in Hawaii.)

PHS has rejiggered the show's floor plan for the first time since the event moved from the Civic Center in West Philadelphia to the Convention Center in 1996. This is expected to improve the flow of foot traffic, a perennial problem at the show.

PHS has redesigned the Marketplace, grouping vendors by theme and reorienting the aisles to mirror the rest of the show. There also will be a new - free - flower show app; a 100-seat restaurant in the middle of the convention center; a 40-vendor Hawaii Village with native crafts and products, and a reality show-style floral design competition.

Several new sponsors have signed on, Becher said, including Bank of America, U.S. Trust, Einstein Health Care Network, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Organic Gardening Magazine, and SugarHouse Casino. In 2011, PNC Bank ended a 20-year run as the show's presenting sponsor, which was its main corporate support. It contributed more than $7 million during that time, a sum Becher has said he would make up with many smaller sponsorships.

The casino's role is bound to cause a buzz. It's hosting a new "man cave," a room where men (and women) can hang out and enjoy big-screen TVs, wide seats, viritual golf and games, and a bar.

The Flower Show has been in existence since 1829, making it the oldest in the nation. It traditionally raises about $1 million for PHS' greening programs, including City Harvest, this year's primary beneficiary.

Last year, attendance his 265,000, the highest total since 2002.

Also in 2011, a study by KPMG, the audit and tax firm, estimated the show's economic impact on the Philadelphia region at $61 million.


Contact staff writer Virginia A. Smith at 215-854-5720 or vsmith@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|