Flower Day at Eastern Market blooms into Flower Season Tuesday Markets

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Flower Day, a beloved Eastern Market annual tradition that draws 100,000 people every year to the market to buy their annuals and perennials, will have a new format this year with four separate days to buy flowers instead of one big event.

Four Flower Season Tuesday Markets are planned throughout May -- on May 4, May 11, May 18 and May 25 -- with six to eight growers selling a range of flowers. The Tuesday markets, which will run in addition to the regular Saturday markets, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"Flower Day has been a tradition for over 50 years so if we could pull off something like that safety-wise, we would," said Sam Morykwas, marketing manager of the Eastern Market Partnership. "But we were trying to think how we could we accommodate that amount of people and be safe."

Chandler Donckers, left, of Post Gardens talks with Jane Rooks, right, and Marie Bashi, center, while they buy flowers at Flower Day at Eastern Market in Detroit on May 20, 2018.

The goal, Morykwas, is to spread out the crowds they'd typically have over at Flower Day over the four extra market days.

COVID-19 has forced retailers and community spaces such as Eastern Market to rethink annual traditions to control crowd size and meet state guidelines for crowds.

Last year, Eastern Market took online orders for flower sales with curbside pickup but flower growers were so busy they had mixed success, said Morykwas. There will be no online sales this year.

"We predicted (flower sales) might be slow but their sales were through the roof with everyone at home and people planting their gardens," said Morykwas.

And even with the additional Tuesday markets for flowers sales this year, expect some other changes. Morykwas said fencing will be in place to limit the number of entrances to Eastern Market and better control crowd size. If they hit capacity, people will have to wait in line to enter the market. And masks are required.

And there will be fewer bells and whistles with fewer vendors and other festivities. But the good news is it's still "a great place to shop," said Morykwas.

mfeighan@detroitnews.com