Tradition still blooms during Flower Mart

May 17, 2000|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's beloved Flower Mart ushers in a new era today as it opens under new management around Mount Vernon Place. Formerly a production of the Women's Civic League, the city's annual rite of spring is now under the auspices of Flower Mart at Mount Vernon Ltd.

The civic league relinquished control of the event it had staged since 1911 because it no longer had enough members to put on the ambitious flower show. Another organization, the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association, agreed to take the helm.

"I didn't want to see [the Flower Mart] end," said Fred Bierer, president of this year's event. "Great cities are based on tradition. There aren't that many piazzas in Italy more beautiful than Mount Vernon Place."

The 83rd annual Flower Mart starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m., four hours later than it has in the past. Performers include Peabody Institute's Maypole dancers and a jazz band from the Eubie Blake Society. Vendors will sell crab cakes and lemons with peppermint sticks. Children's theater and a health expo also are on today's program, organizers said.

Members of the civic league will still participate, offering an afternoon tea, served with scones, at the ornate Engineers Club for $7.

Since Charles Street and some side streets in the Mount Vernon area will be closed, public works officials recommended Light Rail transportation to downtown.

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