Nor’easter cuts into the Philadelphia Flower Show attendance

 The smaller crowd made for better viewing of the exhibits. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

The smaller crowd made for better viewing of the exhibits. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

It seems like every year the Philadelphia Flower Show suffers some kind of weather event. But the show goes on, even as the city’s schools, several museums, and many businesses closed for the day.

Sam Lemheney, chief of events for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, said the Flower Show stays open as long as the streets stay open.

“Obviously you don’t want people to put themselves in harms way to come to the Flower Show, so we would definitely shut the show down if that was the case,” said Lemheney. “But that didn’t happen today, so people that came today were able to see the show.”

Inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the crowds were sparse. A normal weekday would attract almost 20,000 people; it was considerably less than that while sleet was blowing outside, which was fine with Lucy Bell Cellars of Germantown, who bought her ticket last week, the moment she saw that a storm was forecast.

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“It’s just so nice not having the crowd,” she said. “The crowds have gotten so bad that I’d stopped coming some years. It really got unpleasant.”

The diehard Flower Show fans had the floor to themselves, free to ogle and take pictures of Dutch tulips, blue hyacinths, and a water canal light show without jostling for view. Lots of them trod the Holland-themed landscaping exhibits still wearing snow boots.

Judy Hall and Beth Sadler Phipps came from Conshohocken, which got about six inches of snow. Fortunately, Sadler Phipps’ husband drives a snowplow for work, so they had guaranteed passage to the SEPTA station.

“It’ll be an adventure,” she said.

“That’s how we looked at it. We had maybe two seconds of, ‘Maybe we won’t go,'” Hall chimed in. “But it was either this day or no day.”

Sadler Phipps said some friends from out of town were supposed to join her, but they were coming from Washington and North Jersey and the weather kept them home. Snow day at the Flower Show is mostly a hometown crowd.

Pre-paid Flower Show tickets are good anytime, so many ticket holders scared off by the storm will likely arrange their visit for another day.

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