Eastern Market Flower Festival

By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter

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Children ride the train. Flowers on display.

Detroit, MI–Since 1976, every Sunday following Mother’s Day has hosted the Flower Festival at the Eastern Market in Downtown Detroit. 

This year was no different, with last Sunday marking the 47th annual.  As the wind and the temperatures soared, the shoppers still kept coming.  Pushing carts, wagons, and strollers, the estimated almost 200,000 Metro-Detroiters in attendance came to spruce up their yards and to buy them directly from the growers.  The Flower Festival, put on by the Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association, is all about tradition, said spokeswoman Dorothy Pirtle.  Some flock to the Eastern Market’s Flower Day just out of tradition; to see the sights and hear the sounds that they’ve grown accustom to. 

This ritual extends beyond the shoppers to include growers like Mark Kaltz, who is the president of Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association.  He is also a fourth-generation owner with N.W. Kaltz & Sons Farms in Columbus Township, MI, about 50 miles northeast of downtown Detroit.  His family dates back to selling at the Eastern Market over 100 years ago. 

Allen Park couple Michael Hall, 61, and his wife, Kathie, 58, have been coming for more than three decades and bought flowers, vegetables plants and herbs.  “It’s just a matter of tradition,” Kathie Hall said.

It wasn’t just shopping that was happening at the Flower Festival, but photography of all levels.  With amateurs taking pictures on their camera phones of the array of colors, and professional capturing every beat of the day.  This color display is not of just flowers, but of fresh fruit and vegetables too.

Driving towards Flower Day at Eastern Market in Detroit, you’ll barely see faces, but just bodies walking with handfuls of flowers trying to load their cars in the packed parking lots where new arrivers were still circling the lot in hopes of finding a silver to make a spot.  Some even asked those loading their cars if they were leaving so that they could take their parking spot; but the most common reply was that they were just unloading and going back for more.  The windy weather did not stop the people from coming out to buy their garden goods.  Even after some flower arrangements were blown over by the wind, the sellers would just fix them and go back to selling.  Many kids came out to enjoy the fun too, with the band playing and the train trailing around.


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