Flower Market 2017

It may not be their annual Mother's Day weekend event, but the Wilmington Flower Market is making a comeback.

"Where we are with the pandemic and the virus...we can't host our normal May Mother's Day Flower Market on Mother's Day weekend.  It's been a tradition for us for 101 years - would be this year, and unfortunately, for the second year in a row, we had to postpone it due to coronavirus," said Jimmy Malick co-chair of the Wilmington Flower Market. "The fall event will be a safer zone for us to get into."

At the time, Malick had said he hoped to hold a mini-fall festival in 2020, but the virus spread and thwarted those efforts.

After sitting on the sidelines for a year and missing out on a centennial celebration, organizers are planning to host a fall festival Oct. 14-15 in Rockford Park, offering a bit of a different spin. 

"We'll be looking at fall mums, pumpkins, we'll be doing a lot of Halloween-type events, maybe a Halloween costume party for kids as well as an adult party at night," he said.

The beer garden will also be open and live music will return to Rockford Park, courtesy of media partners WDEL/WSTW with Forever Media.

"We couldn't do this event without partners, Forever Media, WSTW, WDEL...we are absolutely looking at a line-up for the fall events to have our concert stage going."

With live music being one of the things Delawareans have said they miss most during the pandemic, the fall festival is hoping to offer some later hours. 

"To see if we can get some of those crowds for after dinner, and maybe, a little bit later concerts so people can enjoy it over the two days October 14th and 15th," he said.

Malick said they're continuing to work with the Delaware Division of Public Health to have plans approved for a large-scale gathering, and all CDC guidance that may be in effect in October will be followed.

"We will be limiting our amount of cash handling; we're actually going to 'magic money' which is like a card-type situation or an app that you can go online and download," he explained.

Vendors will also be limited to allow for social distancing. 

"Leaving a lot more open space for people to get around so that way we can spread our event. The other big thing we're doing is we are getting rid of our giant tents that we normally have in the spring with all of our vendors inside. And we're going to have our vendors bring their own pop-ups so they can spread out more evenly so we won't have guests right on top of each other next to each vendor."

Amusement park rides for kids will also be back with safety protocols in place.

"Majestic Midway is really driving home that they clean every single machine before the next rider gets in," he said.

Expect handwashing stations and better restrooms--no more portable toilets.

"That way people can wash their hands more frequently and more often in an easier and safer position," said Malick.

Despite the seasonal shift and safety changes, your participation in Flower Market fall festivities will still raise money for the same great cause--Delaware's children. For every dollar spent at the fall festival and at all Wilmington Flower Market events, a percentage of proceeds will go to Delaware's children.

"We want to continue to raise money for children, and we know the children can't continue to wait year after year after year because of coronavirus," he said.

As one of the oldest children's charities in the state, Malick said coronavirus has a severe impact on the organization's ability to give back, and ultimately, programs for Delaware's children that range from providing reading materials, wheelchairs, and bedsheets to camperships have been impacted.

"For 101 years...we help up to 68 different beneficiaries on a yearly basis or even more. So this impact has stopped so many programs; it's affected so many grants the children need to do the things they need to do throughout our community and throughout our state. So we really drive it home that we raise money for Delaware's children, and it's only Delaware's children...so those impacted are really heavily impacted. We can't wait anymore, we've got to get back into the game for them."

For those that love sweater season and some hot apple cider, don't expect a fall festival every year. Organizers aim to return to Mother's Day weekend next year. 

"After 101 years, we're not going to let our Mother's Day event go away. That's kind of our weekend, and we really drive that for the children, and that's what we really want to bring back. We want to make sure we're right back on target in 2022 and going forward."