Hoedown, International Women’s Day among new events at Philadelphia Flower Show

Wedding dresses on display at the bridal fair at the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show.
Wedding dresses on display at the bridal fair at the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show. Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Bakers show off sample cakes at the bridal fair at the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show.
Bakers show off sample cakes at the bridal fair at the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show. Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

There is always more to the Philadelphia Flower Show than flowers — as if the beautiful landscapes and displays are not sufficient — and this year’s March 5 to 13 show adds some new special events to the array of extras.

Several theme days and nights will take place in the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Grand Hall, renamed Base Camp in line with the National Park Service centennial theme, where the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Pop Up Beer Garden will add a splash to the events.

A new Cabin Fever Country Hoedown will lead off opening night, March 5, in Base Camp, with a dance floor — square dancing, anyone? — and performances by the popular Wallace Brothers Band, a music group from Philadelphia that performs folk, country, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll.

Tuesday, March 8, ushers in a second new event, International Women’s Day, “which celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women around the world,” a PHS press release says.

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A number of special guests will appear throughout the day, according to Kelly Mansfield of the PHS, and FTD will be handing out thousands of bouquets for free to show visitors that day.

The nation’s oldest park ranger, Betty Reid Soskin from Rosie the Riveter/WWII Homefront Historical National Park, is slated to skype in that day as part of the Find Your Park Pavilion highlights, which include lectures by naturalists, landscape architects, displays and interactive events throughout the week.

A Wedding Wednesday bridal fair will be back in an expanded format, hosted by Philadelphia Wedding magazine, Mansfield said. Brides-to-be and their wedding parties can get advice from more than 50 local experts in bridal fashion design, music, catering and photography, while sampling creative cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets listed on the website, theflowershow.com, are $50 plus a $1 handling fee and include admission to the Flower Show.

The PHS is partnering with the Young Friends of Independence National Park and Young Friends of Valley Forge National Park to host a Flowers After Hours event Thursday, March 10, in Base Camp with live music by local bands or a DJ or both, Mansfield said. Campus Philly, a nonprofit that connects college students with businesses and events in the city, will also be there. Students and young professionals can buy tickets at discounted prices.

On March 11, Fido Friday returns beginning with Yappy Hour from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Pop Up Beer Garden in Base Camp. National Park Service K-9 ranger “Ken” Franklin will make an appearance at the event, where “four-legged and two-legged friends” can “experience the show together,” PHS said.

“Last year Fido Friday was very successful,” Mansfield said, noting, “200 dogs brought their owners to the show.”

An opportunity for children to become Junior Rangers will run all week, she said, in addition to Sunday, March 13, when The Flower Show Jamboree offers activities throughout the day for young families. Activities include a Teddy Bear Tea, visit by National Park Service mascot Buddy the Bison, Butterflies Live, a Railway Garden powered by Amtrak with Bachmann Trains and perhaps an appearance by Thomas & Friends.

“It’s the unofficial family day and draws hundreds,” Mansfield said. A separate ticket is required for several of the events and “sells out quickly,” she said.

All of the special events are meant “to attract new audiences to the Flower Show and become members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society,” Mansfield said. “We’re constantly looking for ways to be more inclusive and expose people to nature in a fun way.”

All proceeds from the show benefit the PHS.