Who’s ready for Philadelphia to burst into bloom? The promise of spring feels almost within reach, thanks to the forthcoming 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, March 1-9.
For 185 years, the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show has captivated visitors from around the globe with stunning displays celebrating the beauty of plants and the art of gardening.
This year, we’re particularly thrilled with the prospect of a stellar array of new exhibits, events and guests (Butterflies! Andy Warhol! Rachael Ray!).
Here are the top 10 reasons we’re looking forward to the opening of the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show on Saturday, March 1.
1. Guggenheim, Getty, Smithsonian, PMA, PAFA, Barnes: For the 2014 Flower Show, exhibitors have partnered with more than a dozen of the world’s finest art museums, both in Philadelphia and beyond. In addition to iconic hometown museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Barnes Foundation, this year’s show brings in the influence of such incredible institutions at Los Angeles’ Getty Museum, New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, and Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution. With so many of the nation’s greats collaborating under one roof, we can expect an incredible fine art-filled experience at the Convention Center.
2. A Q&A with Rachael Ray: On Friday, March 7 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., none other than cheerful Food Network television personality Rachael Ray will make an appearance for a live Q&A at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. With a resume that includes syndicated television star, bestselling cookbook author, founder/editorial director of her own lifestyle magazine, and founder of the Yum-o! charitable organization, the conversation ought to be varied, engaging and, of course, peppered with Ray’s signature catchphrases.
3. The Butterfly Experience: In a brand-new Flower Show feature, visitors will be able to walk through an interactive and educational butterfly-filled exhibit created by California’s Sky River Butterflies. An array of 20 species and more than 1,000 butterflies will fill a heated simulated habitat room, just waiting for guests to roam through and experience a walk among butterflies. Note that admission to The Butterfly Experience costs $3 per person, and hours differ from general show hours.
4. Young Friends Party at the Barnes: Before the Flower Show opens to the public, join the PHS Young Friends for a floral-themed cocktail party to celebrate the opening of the 2014 show. The party starts at 7 p.m. at the Barnes with a beer-and-wine open bar, hors d’oeuvres, live music and access to the collection. Then, at 9:30 p.m., guests will hop on a trolley to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to see the Flower Show and enjoy an after party with a live DJ and performance by vertical dance troupe BANDALOOP.
5. Dining on Jose Garces’ cuisine at Artist’s Palette Café: While taking in all of the exhibits on the Flower Show main floor, guests are bound to get hungry. This year, the Artist’s Palette Café is set to pop up in the Convention Center’s Grand Hall with special dishes from Philadelphia Iron Chef and restauranteur Jose Garces. In a partnership with ARAMARK, guests can dine on Garces Group restaurant-inspired dishes like tamales, Cubano sandwiches and empanadas.
6. Buying Tickets online and Save $5: Making plans to visit the show? Scoop up tickets online in advance and save $5! Tickets are available online in advance for $27 ($32 at the door) for adults, $20 ($22 at the door) for students with valid ID and $15 ($17 at the door) for children ages 2-16. A service fee of $1 per ticket is applied at checkout, but that’s still a pretty great savings.
7. Girls Night Out: After hours at the Flower Show means theme nights, and Girls Night Out returns for another year of girly good times. Philadelphia Style magazine presents the ladies’ night with a VIP party featuring shopping, food, wine and special demonstrations. Tickets are $50 per person and include admission to the Flower Show, a premium gift and a free cocktail. Or, select from LGBT Party on Sunday, March 2 from 4 to 6 p.m., or Wedding Wednesday on Wednesday, March 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
8. Andy Warhol Flowers Series from the Bank of America Collection: In conjunction with the fine art theme, this year’s Flower Show debuts a handful of special fine art exhibitions. In addition to work by Bucks County sculptor Steve Tobin and selections from the West Collection, guests will be able to take in rarely seen prints from the Andy Warhol Flowers series from the Bank of America Collection, one of the largest art collections in the world. Bank of America is this year’s exclusive sponsor of the Flower Show, and brings the Warhol series to the show at no additional charge to visitors. Pop art fans should not miss taking in this sought-after series of prints.
9. An Entrance with Gravity-Defying Dancers: The grand entrance to the show is always a sight to behold — designed each year by Flower Show director Sam Lemheney, the Flower Show entrance is the central feature of the show and continually impressive. This year’s exhibit draws inspiration from the works of Alexander Calder, a member of Philadelphia’s historic family of artists (three generations of art by the Calder family are on display in Philadelphia!). The sweeping exhibit will feature a layered multi-dimensional display, plus daily performances from remarkable aerial dance troupe BANDALOOP!
10. A Philadelphia Arts Showcase: The Flower Show draws thousands to Center City Philadelphia to take in the spectacular horticultural exhibits. But that means the rest of the city is on display, too, with hotels getting in on the action with excellent packages and lovely floral lobby displays, and museums welcoming visitors with special rates and more. For all of the Flower Show hotel deals, check here. For the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package (your car stays free!), check right here. Plus, Flower Show tickets are good for a $3 discount to the Penn Museum and a $2 discount on admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
See you at the show!
2014 Philadelphia Flower Show
When: March 1-9
Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street
Cost: Adults, $27; students, $20; children, $15 in advance; adults, $32; students, $22; children, $17 at the box office; Free for children under 2
More info: www.theflowershow.com