The Philadelphia Flower Show will return to FDR Park for 2022, according to an announcement by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), which organizes the annual event. The show will take on a theme of In Full Bloom and will spread across 15 acres of the South Philly park. It’s scheduled for June 11-19.
This will be the second year in a row that the show will be hosted outdoors at FDR Park instead of the Convention Center, where it was held for two dozen years and billed as the “largest indoor flower show in the world.” The show was moved in 2021 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic at a time when there was no clear timeline for a vaccine. It was the first time the show was held outside in its nearly 200-year-long history.
While more than 80% of adults in Philadelphia have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, PHS says “the continuing challenges and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic” played a leading role in next year’s location choice.
“Public safety is a critical component for the upcoming show, and adherence to recommendations from City/State health officials is paramount to show planning,” PHS said in a recent press release.
The CDC continues to encourage people to hold events outdoors, when possible. Pre-pandemic, the show regularly drew around 250,000 visitors per year. Attendance numbers haven’t been released for 2021. PHS organizers note that the 15-acre space at FDR Park makes it easier to social distance.
The location change, however, brought mixed reviews from attendees of the 2021 show. Some said that the wider pathways and open grassy areas made for a less claustrophobic experience, and that there were more places to sit than at the Convention Center. But others said parking was more of a hassle, and not all welcomed the extra walking that the layout required. Traffic and long lines were an issue, too.
PHS says it plans to make changes and enhancements to the 2022 show based on feedback from visitors, staff, and stakeholders, including changes to the parking, ticketing, traffic flow, and overall design.
“There were some complaints and we didn’t necessarily get everything right the first time being outside, but we’re hoping to improve on that,” said Sam Lemheney, PHS chief of shows and events. “There are always big events going on but we worked with the sports venues down there to pick the dates [for 2022], and chose a time frame that we felt was best for everybody.”
This year’s theme, In Full Bloom, is designed to explore the restorative and healing power of nature and plants and showcase how gardening can improve lives. “So many people leaned on horticulture and got involved in gardening to help them get through the pandemic. This is a little tongue and cheek in regards to that — how did you stay in full bloom during the pandemic, and how did your garden stay in full bloom during the pandemic?” Lemheney said.
Tickets are expected to go on sale in early fall. As of right now, tickets will not be for designated time windows like they were last year, Lemheney said.