As the sounds of the Maryland Opera rang through Mount Vernon Place, festival goers got their fix of fried foods, alcohol and, of course, lemon sticks, and shopped the vendor stalls lining the streets of the 112th annual Flower Mart festival.

Keara Decay had a front-row seat to the opera at her stall Balti’Marons, selling an assortment of handmade macarons, including pistachio, salted caramel, Berger cookie, Old Bay salted caramel, and in celebration of Flower Mart, lemon stick.

“Flower Mart is one of the best festivals of the year,” Decay said. “It’s the start of spring, everyone loves the lemon stick, and it’s a very fresh, fun, sunny Baltimore experience.”

Flower Mart attendees hang out in Mount Vernon Place during the annual festival celebrating the start of spring. (Carl Schmidt for The Baltimore Banner)

Dating to 1911, the annual celebration of spring is the city’s oldest free public festival. The Women’s Civic League, Home Garden Committee and Municipal Art Society founded Flower Mart as a philanthropy to teach women about gardening, including in vacant lots to help improve living conditions in Baltimore, according to Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, the organization that hosts the festival.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

In addition to the music, food and drinks, green thumbs have opportunities to buy plants and take part in gardening workshops and lectures. This year’s events included a terrarium-making workshop and a tasting of mead, which is fermented honey.

At the Joe’s Family Farm stall, Joe Ignatious and Jon Castillo were looking to buy something for their new Baltimore home.

“We want to get our first outdoor plant to transform our gravel patch into an urban oasis,” Ignatious said.

Ignatious and Castillo said they were shopping for a native Maryland plant with a lot of color and lushness to it, and they landed on a Coral Bell and a fern for their front steps.

Venora Fauntleroy, of Baltimore, eats lunch at Flower Mart with goddaughter Anika Cerrelonge, 8, of Jamaica. (Carl Schmidt for The Baltimore Banner)

Carmeca Howard, owner of Yellow Chakra Garden, said this is her second year selling plants at the festival.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“We are plant people through and through,” Howard said. “The plant community is kind of an odd community. It’s a little niche within the Baltimore community, and so it’s always nice to come out and rub elbows with people who are like minded.”

Howard’s favorite plant, the money tree, was completely sold out well before the festival came to a close.

An attendee makes a flower arrangement during the Flowers and Fancies design-your-own arrangement workshop. (Carl Schmidt for The Baltimore Banner)
(L to R) Don Rockett, of Federal Hill; Karen Dubon Sayre, of Carney; Danika Rockett, of Federal Hill; Charlie Dubon Sayre, of Carney; and MJ Dubon Sayre of Carney take a picture with Nathan Birch dressed as a lemon stick. (Carl Schmidt for The Baltimore Banner)
Jermaine Knight of Baltimore purchases two snake plants at the Yellow Chakra Garden booth. (Carl Schmidt for The Baltimore Banner)
Sisters Nora, 2, and Layla Patterson, 4, of Hampden play in a water fountain. (Carl Schmidt for The Baltimore Banner)
(L to R) Chris Kucinski, of Butchers Hill; Marissa George, of Butchers Hill; and Lauren Eller browse Two Boots Farm. (Carl Schmidt for The Baltimore Banner)

Abby Zimmardi is the 2023 investigative reporting fellow for The Baltimore Banner. Zimmardi earned her master’s degree from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism in December 2022. 

More From The Banner