Flower Fest blooms this weekend in Alpena

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Tara Wilson, of Lasting Expressions Flower Shop in Alpena, works on a floral display on Tuesday that will be a part of the Flower Festival in downtown Alpena this weekend.

ALPENA — This weekend, downtown Alpena will be awash in elaborate and colorful floral displays for the second annual Flower Festival.

Some local small businesses will not only have custom flower features on display in front of their shops but also will offer flower-themed drinks and other products.

Anne Gentry, Alpena Downtown Development Authority executive director, said the inaugural event last year exceeded expectations and, this year, all signs indicate Flower Fest is growing.

She said the event begins on Friday and wraps up Sunday and is jam-packed with things to see and do.

She described it as a celebration of all things flowers.

“Last year was very successful, especially for the first year of an event,” Gentry said. “It was amazing to see so many people come out, walk through the downtown, pose for photos of the flowers, and I think people were really surprised by the level of quality of the flower installations and the number of activities.”

Gentry said floral-related activities will be scattered throughout downtown all weekend, including live painting by local artists, free kids’ crafts, live music, poetry readings, themed cocktails for the adults, and more.

There will also be a flower bar set up where people can pick out fresh flowers and make their own custom bouquet.

She said a complete list of times and locations is available on the Flower Festival event page on the DDA website, downtownAlpenaMI.com.

To take advantage of the influx of people downtown, Gentry said many businesses will stay open later to accommodate festival attendees. She said people can enjoy a cocktail while walking around downtown with a limited-edition Flower Fest social district cup and do some shopping at stores such as Sweet Baby James, Colburn Outfitters, Olivet Book and Gift, Traveling Ladders, Parallel 45 Books and Gifts, Bob’s Bullpen, Emery Enterprises, Cabin Creek Coffee, Myers’ Fashions Etc., Rusty Petunias Marketplace, the Local Basket Case, Illuminate Wellness, Glik’s, and Karma’s a Fish.

Gentry said that, after seeing the success of the festival last year, more businesses decided to participate this year, which means there will be more flower displays for people to enjoy.

“This year, we will have 48 flower installations that can range from something hanging on a door to large planters to the really large ones that people will for sure want to take photos of and with,” she said.

Gentry said many of the largest flower displays will be in the alley near the Center Building that runs from 2nd Avenue to 3rd Avenue. There is also outdoor seating in and near the alleyway for people who dine and enjoy a cocktail from a local business along that section of the downtown.

Other large displays will also be at Bay View Park, Avery Park, Lasting Expressions, and Thunder Bay Arts Center.

“Those are the ones you’ll really want to see,” Gentry said.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 or sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.


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