By: Natalie Faragalli
Is it blasphemes to say that I’ve never been to the Philadelphia Flower Show? Because I’ve never been to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Sure, I’ve seen the pictures, I’ve heard the stories, I even watched the yearly recap videos—I just never actually attended it on my own.
That was all about to change…
I decided 2016 was “the year of realizing stuff.” And I realized that I couldn’t go another year without seeing what all of the global fuss was about.
For those of you who don’t know (i.e. Natalie circa 2015) the Philadelphia Flower Show, curated by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), is a global phenomenon and an award winning event. Every year, right in our backyard, is the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event. It has been honored as the best event in the world, let me repeat that, BEST EVENT IN THE WORLD, by the International Festivals & Events Association. To put it into perspective, other events given this title are the Kentucky Derby Festival, Indianapolis 500 Festival and the Tournament of Roses Parade—to name a few.
I started my #FlowerShowJourney at this year’s Run into Spring 5K at Kelly Drive. No, I didn’t participate in it as a runner, but I did attend and cheer those runners on. It was a lovely, crisp February morning, perfect for running. Right on the scenic course of Kelly Drive, hundreds of runners crossed the rose-pedaled finish line and were immediately offered a medal for their accomplished feat.
I continued my #FlowerShowJourney by attending the Ultimate Pop-Up Picnic held outside of Reading Terminal—another perfect day. The lovely folks of PHS were able to turn a city street into a green urban oasis. Outdoor games like SEPTA cornhole and giant jenga took over the parking spots.
There was even an adorable flower crown making station, which I accidentally cut the line for—sorry!
All of these events led up to the culmination of the 2016 PHS Flower Show, whose theme this year was “Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service.”
I took my mom with me, as neither of us have ever been. After a few minutes of “Excuse me do you know where the entrance is?” we finally go to the right door. We opened the double doors and were whisked away to what very well could have been a scene from Alice in Wonderland. It was jaw-droppingly exquisite and enjoyably overwhelming for two newbies.
We weren’t sure where to turn first, so we went straight and entered the “Big Timber Lodge” and were immediately swept away by the 365 degree views of forestry and classic park architecture.
Although I don’t have much to compare this year’s show with, I do have to say that I utterly adored this year’s theme with the celebration of 100 years of National Park Service.
PHS transformed the entire room into an enchantment of green foliage as an aura of cedar, red oak and floral notes took over my senses.
The room played homage to the amazing National Parks, from historical sites to babbling rivers, all over the states. Each curated landscape displayed a different natural setting– including one depicting a park that resides just a few blocks away.
One of my favorite experiences was the Butterfly Room, which was definitely worth the price of admission. As soon as I entered a little girl tapped me and said “Hey there’s a butterfly on your butt!” Being in there truly made me realize that children have ZERO fear. They were walking and running around with butterflies all over their faces as their parents ducked in fear (or, at least mine did.)
All in all I have to say that I was not disappointed in the PHS Flower Show. I was, however, disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of living just miles away from such an amazing, awe-inspiring experience. It’s safe to say that this will now be a yearly tradition for my mother and me.