PHS news release
The “aloha spirit” washed over the city of Philadelphia last week, when the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show welcomed more than 270,000 visitors to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 5,000 more than the previous year.
“Hawaii: Islands of Aloha” featured one of the largest displays of orchids and tropical plants ever seen, and elaborate floral and landscape designs that celebrated Hawaii’s beaches, surf culture, agricultural heritage, the hula, and the volcanic landscapes and tranquil vistas of the Pacific paradise. More than 50 vendors from the Hawaiian Islands brought homegrown plants and products and provided exceptional entertainment all week.
“We introduced many features, including a remarkable overhead wave using new special video effects, and we made a lot of changes to the Show layout,” said PHS President Drew Becher. “The audience appreciated the new way of seeing and experiencing one of the world’s premier horticultural events.”
The Preview Party, PHS’s largest fundraiser of the year, welcomed 2,400 attendees and was followed by the first-ever Young Friends After Party, attracting 1,200 guests for dancing among the displays. Themed evening events such as Wedding Wednesday and Girls Night Out were sold out, and advance reservations will be offered again for 2013.
More than 10,000 visitors downloaded the new Flower Show App, which provided schedules, exhibitor and vendor lists, maps, behind-the-scene views and other vital information for planning a tour of the Show. Several new products were introduced to the public at this year’s Flower Show, including the new Deluxe Tiller from Mantis and a new variety of strawberry, the “Purple Wonder,” unveiled by Cornell University horticulturists through an exclusive licensing agreement with seed giant W. Atlee Burpee Co.
Visitors from throughout the United States and around the world embraced the Flower Show. Media coverage included the London Daily Telegraph and the U.K.’s Daily Mail, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Radio, and broadcast and print outlets on the Hawaiian Islands.
There were many special visitors to the Flower Show this year, including two First Ladies — Susan Corbett, wife of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, and Lisa Nutter, wife of Mayor Michael Nutter. On Wedding Wednesday, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and their daughter Ashley came to the Show to plan Ashley’s upcoming nuptials.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey toured the Show with members of his staff. Mike Victorino, father of the Phillies’ Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, visited the Show to promote the Hawaii Village and the island of Maui, where Mike is a county councilman.
The exciting wedding of exhibitors Bill Schaffer and Kris Kratt on the Flower Show stage brought the “Cake Boss” film crew and cast members Mauro Castano and Danny Dragone to the Show, where they guided a multi-layered masterpiece through the Convention Center to the Schaffer exhibit, surrounded at every step by a phalanx of fans.
Reality TV stars Melissa Gorga and Bethenny Frankel welcomed guests and signed bottles of their new products in the Grand Hall.
The Family Lounge featured Sprout TV stars and WXPN Kids’ Corner host Kathy O’Connell, who read Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” to the crowd and was joined by the furry orange hero of the new children’s movie. Smokey Bear, meanwhile, assisted at the U.S. Forest Service exhibit.
A new “Man Cave” became a must-see for visitors in search of crab fries, big-screen sports and comfortable seating.
Revenues from the Flower Show benefit the year-round work of PHS, and this year support City Harvest, the innovative program that brings together a network of community gardeners and urban farmers, provides green job training, and grows fresh produce for more than 1,000 families in need each week.
The Premier Sponsor of the Philadelphia International Flower Show is Subaru of America, and a new major sponsor is Bank of America. Other Official Sponsors of the 2012 Flower Show include Acme, Bartlett Tree Experts, Colonial Williamsburg, Einstein Healthcare Network, EP Henry, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Mantis, Organic Gardening, SugarHouse Casino, Tourism Ireland, and US Trust.
“This year’s presentation was a fantastic success for us, our exhibitors and partners, and the city and region,” said Sam Lemheney, PHS Senior Vice President for Shows and Events.
PHS is already making plans for another important date — 3.3.13 –the opening of the 2013 Flower Show, “Brilliant!”, a celebration of the contemporary culture, design, gardens and landscapes of Britain.
“Britain represents 1,000 years of art and design, theater and performance, architecture and horticulture,” Lemheney said. “The 2013 Flower Show will capture that amazing cultural heritage.”
For information about the Flower Show, visit theflowershow.com. For behind-the-scenes stories about the Show, visit the Flower Show Blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.