Flower fanciers rejoice, the Flower Mart is back on Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4 in Mount Vernon Place. The oldest ongoing festival in the city of Baltimore, Flower Mart features all types of plants and flowers for sale; entertainment; free educational lectures and workshops; vendors; contests; and the ever-popular lemon sticks.
Flower Mart was founded in 1911 by the Women’s Civic League, an organization formed to advocate for better living conditions in Baltimore. A focal point of the original market was to encourage flower, plant, and vegetable gardening in the yards of homes and the greening of vacant lots.
This year, for the first time, the annual Flower Mart festival is being managed by the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, an organization that works to restore and maintain the Washington Monument and the parks squares of Mount Vernon Place.
“Flower Mart is Baltimore’s oldest continuous public festival. While it has changed over the years, we look forward to this opportunity to celebrate and enhance its many cherished traditions,” said Dr. Lance Humphries, Executive Director of the Conservancy, which plans to continue the mission of the original Flower Mart.
“This is a relevant message today,” says Humphries, “and we plan to make the need for and value of urban green spaces and gardens an important part of our educational activities at Flower Mart.”
This year’s vendors include flower and plants vendors, arts and crafts celebrating flowers and plants, non-profit organizations supporting the greening of the city, food, beer and wine.
“We have been listening to the Mount Vernon community, and envision making the festival a showcase for local and Baltimore vendors,” he said.
“Mount Vernon Place is one of Baltimore’s oldest surviving public gardens—and certainly its most iconic,” added Humphries. “This transition offers new opportunities for the Conservancy to communicate its mission to a large audience and raise awareness of the ongoing needs of Mount Vernon Place.”
Over the course of two days musicians will perform from 11 am to 8 pm on the festival’s two stages located in the South and West Squares. They will include performers from many genres of music including classical, jazz, country, Dixieland swing, and more.
Flower Mart will also offer a series of educational workshops and lectures on themes relating to the greening of the city, and flower and plants. Lectures will explore the value of bee-keeping, urban farming, garden maintenance, and other topics, while hands-on workshops will show participants how to make a bee-friendly container garden and flower arranging on a budget. At 6:00 pm each day the lecture tent becomes the Lemon Stick Lounge with music and a special cocktail created by Hotel Revival.
Prior to this year, the Flower Mart had been run by the non-profit Flower Mart at Mt. Vernon, Ltd. since 2000. According to Humphries, cherished traditions will be honored this year.
Case in point, the Flower Mart Hat Contest is back by popular demand and will be held on Friday at 12 p.m. at the South Square Stage. Hosted by the Baltimore Hons, the Hat Contest will again showcase the millinery prowess of Charm City. Sign up and put your creations on display for a chance to win great prizes.
Hats will be judged in the following categories: Most Creative; Best Use of Flowers or Plants; Most Elegant; Best Overall; and Miss Congeniality.
The popular Flower Mart Dog Parade & Show will also be back at this year’s Flower Mart beginning on Saturday, May 4 at 12:30 pm. Cute canines from around the neighborhood will be strutting their stuff on the stage in the South Square of Mount Vernon Place. Special prizes will be awarded to the winners, and every participating dog will receive a gift bag.
The Flower Mart encourage festival visitors to use public transportation. During the festival, the free Charm City Circulator (Purple Line) and MTA bus will detour around Mount Vernon Place, but drop off riders slightly south and north of Mount Vernon Place. PMS Parking is offering a discounted rate of $5 (regular $13/day) at their 15 West Franklin Street Garage on May 3-4.
Flower Mart at Mount Vernon Place
699 N. Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4
11am – 8pm
For more information, go to http://mvpconservancy.org/flower-mart/.