Thousands attend first day of the Philadelphia Flower Show

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Saturday marked day one of Philadelphia's first-ever outdoor flower show in an almost 200-year history of the event, attracting thousands of guests from all over the city and country.

Adeania Dorsey from Coatesville came to the flower show for her birthday with her kids and granddaughter. She says this is the first big event she's been to since the pandemic started.

"COVID has taken a lot away from us. Being at the flower show, and it was able to be outside this year, makes it really special," she said.

"This is the first major event in this city. I actually think it's going to be the most attended event in the country when we're all said and done," said Sam Lemheney, the chief of shows and events for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

While there are still pandemic protocols in place, like hand sanitizer stations, masking is not required, and there are no COVID-related capacity limits.

Organizers say signs saying otherwise were printed before restrictions lifted.

"If you really don't feel safe, you can wear a mask, but guess what, we're outdoors, everybody says we're safe, so if you're vaccinated, you're good to go," said Lemheney.

Thousands of people took advantage of the first day reserving their tickets and time slots in advance for either the morning or afternoon sessions.

"It's beautiful. I think it's so much nicer being outside, "said Krystyna Jankowski, who traveled in from Connecticut.

Some guests did have a wait as sessions turned over and lines weaved through FDR Park back onto Pattison Avenue, but most people didn't seem to mind the wait.

One guest who knows a thing or two about waiting is Amanda Speer.

Her boyfriend popped the question Saturday morning at the flower show after four and a half years together.

"I just proposed, and she said, 'Yes,' and we're about to get married," said Jim Read, who proposed with Amanda's grandmother's ring.

"I love the outdoors. I love the flowers. This is my element, and the fact that he did this here, it's just so special," she said.

The Philadelphia Flower Show goes on until Sunday, June 13.

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