Flowermart blossoms with the sun

  • Emily Waters, waters flowers at the In the Garden booth. Her mother owns the business and Waters came from school in California during her semester break to help during Flowermart 2010. She decorated and set up the booth.
Emily Waters, waters flowers at the In the Garden booth. Her… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim…)
May 08, 2010|By Susan Reimer, The Baltimore Sun

Bright sun and cool breezes were the honored guests as Bryn Mawr third-graders took up the ribbons of the maypole Friday and danced to open Baltimore's Flowermart.

True devotees do not acknowledge ever having bad weather in the 93 years of the festival in Mount Vernon Square. But the first day of this year's two-day event was particularly auspicious.

"Everybody is so happy," said Josie Fraley from underneath a straw hat covered with flowers and the Flowermart's signature treat: lemons with peppermint sticks.

She and friend Mary Sheppard, who was wearing an equally elaborate hat, were stopped often by camera carriers asking to take a picture. "I feel like a celebrity," said Sheppard.

The women were headed to the crab cake vendor for lunch. "That's the other reason you come to Flowermart," said Fraley, who had already made her flower purchases.

The flower vendors at Flowermart were clustered around the base of the Washington Monument, while up and down Charles Street vendors were selling food, jewelry and clothing — everything but flowers.

The ladies from the Walters Art Museum were holding a bake sale, and Project Place, a program for the homeless, was selling hundreds of gently used purses for $1, $5 or $15.

Fresh Bakery was selling square cupcakes and square sunflower sugar cookies. There were French linens, African masks, Indian cotton and Italian sausage for sale, too

Mary Paula Olert, a parent at Immaculate Heart of Mary, was wearing a hat made from a grocery bag that had been spray-painted yellow and decorated with sparkling ferns and a large paper flower.

As long as there are Catholic schools, it seems, there will be a Flowermart to fund their programs, and Olert was selling her heart out.

"We all went to Catholic schools, and we all check our work," she said as she and her young helpers tallied up a sale of herbs and annuals. The children were wearing hats made from black plastic flower pots decorated with sunflowers.

Emily Waters looked as if she had stepped out of the 1920s in her flower print dress and flapper hat decorated with a bright sunflower. The 22-year-old studies photography in California but is home to help her parents, the owners of In the Garden, a Baltimore flower shop.

"It's a family tradition," she said.

Police were riding their bikes on the paving stones, and office workers were grabbing lunch from the vendors. There were dogs on leashes and children in strollers and hats, each one grander than the other.

Eartha Harrison's towering bonnet executed the Flowermart theme — sunflowers — to the nines. And the brim was painted with a black band that represented Charles Street.

"Somebody made it, but it is my job to wear it," she said from her booth representing Chimes and selling craft items made by its adult clients.

That kind of sums up the pleasures of Flowermart, where the only job is to wear a hat.

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