Springtime is here and the Wilmington Flower Market is returning to Rockford Park for its 99th consecutive year.
Organizers say this year will be one of the most activity-packed Markets in the event’s history and will include the unveiling of an expanded beer and wine garden.
2019 Event Chair Diane Whittaker is especially thrilled to announce this year’s musical headliner, singer-songwriter Andy Grammer. Music fans have enjoyed Grammer’s songs for nearly a decade. But it was a 2015 stint on Dancing with the Stars that helped catapult the handsome pop star into a music sensation. “We’re very excited to have such a big name at the event. All of us expect that he’ll give an outstanding performance,” said Whittaker.
Grammar is hosting a meet-and-greet on Saturday, May 11th at 4 p.m. and will hit the stage later in the evening for an hour-long show.
The Flower Market celebrates and benefits over 50 children’s charities in Delaware. To date, the organization has raised over $4 million dollars, according to Wilmington Flower Market’s website.
The weekend’s festivities kicked off with a Rockford Park 5k on Wednesday night. “The run’s a great way to start the weekend off right,” said Tracy Ignatieff, past event chair.
The Flower Market will be hosting a constant run of events and activities throughout Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Here are a few you won’t want to miss:
WSTW’s concert lineup includes Michael Franti on Friday night and Andy Grammer on Saturday.
2019 Poster Artist: Stephanie Silverman
Each year, the WFM event chair chooses an artist to create a piece of work inspired by the Flower Market, which is subsequently used as the event’s marketing poster. This year, Silverman painted her rendition of the tower in Rockford Park. “I chose the tower as a focal point for my piece. It’s definitely an iconic symbol of the Flower Market and just something that Wilmingtonians connect with,” she said. The painting will be sold as part of the event’s fundraising efforts. In addition to creating the cover piece, Silverman has set up shop at the Market and is selling other pieces of work.
The Beneficiary Children’s Art Contest
This contest is a new feature at the Flower Market. The WFM board asked all beneficiary agencies to submit entries of artwork – created by a child in the program with the theme, ‘What the Flower Market Means to Me’. The 10 submitted entries will be displayed throughout the weekend. Anyone can stop by and vote. On Sunday, the winning participant will be announced and given a $1,000 academic scholarship.
Expanded Beer and Wine Tent
This year, the beer and wine tent at the WFM has been expanded, allowing for a larger area to enjoy the event’s craft drinks. Each day, the tent will have ‘tap takeovers’, meaning local distilleries and breweries, such as Dogfish Head, will be solely supplying their product. “We’re going to have special cocktails, highlighting the craft alcohols daily that people can sample. It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Whittaker said.
Donor Plant Tent
The Wilmington Flower Market was founded on the premise of local gardeners selling their own plants in an effort to raise money for children’s charities. This tradition continues at the ‘Donor Plant’ stand, where each plant has been donated by community members. This year, Longwood Gardens generously donated a variety of their own flowers. “This is one of the best selections of donor plants I’ve seen, and I’ve been volunteering for 35 years,” a WFM representative told TSD.
Due to the event’s previous successes and Whittaker’s efforts in preparing a fantastic 99th celebration, the Wilmington Flower Market has been chosen as Beneficiary for the 2019 Best of Delaware Party. The Party will be held on Thursday, August 8th at the Chase Center on Wilmington’s Riverfront.
“We just found out this week that we’d been chosen as the beneficiary for the party. It’s very exciting,” Whittaker said. “All the proceeds will go to the Flower Market, which is an extra boost for us if the weather doesn’t hold up this weekend.”
The Wilmington Flower Market is a perfect event for all age groups, working to support the wellbeing of Delaware’s children. “It’s a wonderful cause. Children often don’t ask for the situations their put in and we really can do a lot in the community with the money we raise here,” Ignatieff said.
Furthermore, the Market is completely run on a volunteer basis, “We would not be able to pull this event off without the sustained volunteerism,” Whittaker said.
“I hope in following years, the younger generations… the millennials will get involved. I want to see the Flower Market continue long after the 100th year celebration,” Whittaker said.