The Philadelphia Flower Show is here. Cue the bad weather.
For Friday night’s kickoff gala, attendees will have to trudge through slush to the Convention Center. For organizers and repeat guests of the black-tie-optional preview, the soggy feeling must be familiar.
“It wouldn’t be a Flower Show without a few flakes,” says Sam Lemheney, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s chief of shows and events. “This is the fifth out of six years that we’ve had snow.”
In fact, the Flower Show’s history with inclement weather stretches farther back. The show was forced to close early on March 13, 1993, during a blizzard. An Inquirer article that year quoted a man who had cross-country skied to the show from the Art Museum area. “I love flowers and I love skiing,” he said.
In 2001, Philadelphia meteorologist John Bolaris predicted the “storm of the century” during Flower Show week, inadvertently driving down attendance — the storm only dropped two inches of snow in the suburbs and missed the city entirely. (The Flower Show turnout took a similar hit in 2013 due to a fizzled forecast.)
“There’s not much we can do to plan around it," Lemheney says. "Today is membership day, so attendance won’t really be affected. We’re encouraging everyone to take public transportation.”
Friday’s snow was expected to taper off, with a chance of rain at night. The weekend forecast is mild, with a possible snowstorm on Monday. Even if that comes to fruition, “we’re not that worried about it,” Lemheney says. Snowy days are optimal for Flower Show visitors who want to avoid crowds. And the show offers succor to anyone put out by the bad weather, he says.
“If you’re sick of the snow,” he says, "you should come to the Flower Show. It’s the best place to be — just look at the colors.”