Flower and Jazz Festival returns bigger, flowerier and jazzier than ever

The Flower and Jazz Festival is a Mother's Day tradition for the Carroll County community, featuring artwork, music and floral arrangements. This year, the tradition grows, as Westminster expands the popular event, to become a near-citywide party for the lovers of beauty.

Flower and Jazz began in 1991 as a block party, spanning just from Md. 27 to Longwell Ave., according to Missie Wilcox, marketing consultant with the City of Westminster. As the years went by and more people came out for the festival, it expanded, first to John Street, and now all the way to Pennsylvania Ave., allowing visitors a half-mile of vendors, music and fun.


This year, the Flower and Jazz Festival will feature more than 200 vendors including local artists, to nonprofits, restaurants and crafters, continuous music on three stages, a children's activity area and a 5K run/walk through downtown.

With the expanded location, and new vendors, it can be tough making your way through the entire festival without missing a thing. To help ensure visitors make the most out of their Saturday, the Flower and Jazz Festival has embraced the digital age with an original app that features the names and locations of all of the participating vendors. Wilcox said to help make sure everyone can access the app, Freedom Broadband will provide free wifi throughout the entire festival, allowing any smartphone easy access to the internet and up-to-date festival access.

"We were thinking, we've got all these people with their faces in their phones already," Wilcox said. "How can we facilitate the use of the internet so they can get the most out of the festival?"

The app can be found by searching for "City of Westminster MD" in your phone's app store.

Music can be found at the Library Stage, the American Appraisal Stage, and for the first time, at the Harry's Main Street Grille Stage at the Main Street restaurant. Musical groups participating include a selection of local middle and high school jazz bands as well as popular local favorites, including Mr. Jon & Friends family-friendly music, Bruce Coates & the Chesapeake Saxophone Ensemble, The Herb Sell Ensemble and the Eric Byrd Trio, best known in Westminster for their annual Charlie Brown Christmas Concert at the Carroll Arts Center at the end of the year.

Byrd said the Flower and Jazz Festival is one of his favorite places to perform each year. The group has been a part of the festival off and on for more than a decade. This year, he said they will perform some new arrangements, placing church hymns and songs into a jazz context.

"What's nice about the Flower and Jazz Festival is you are right up close with the people," Byrd said. "When you're doing concerts, you don't get a sense of who's there. You're removed from it. Here, we have people come right up to the stage. It's like playing the neighborhood picnic."

The Flower and Jazz 5K begins at 9 a.m. at 11 Longwell Ave. Race registration is $30 in advance, and $35 on site the day of the race. That cost includes the price of a T-shirt.

For those who need a little extra kick to get through the day, the Midnight Homebrewers League and House of Brews will host brewing demonstrations at the festival to celebrate National Homebrew Day held each year the first week of May.

Since the kids can't participate in the homebrew demonstrations, the Festival will host an old-fashioned penny carnival, with historic games for kids of all ages. Despite the name, these games will be free for children to participate in, with winners earning small prizes.

Wilcox said the Flower and Jazz Festival is designed for families to attend with their mothers or for procrastinators to pick up the final pieces of their Mother's Day gifts. She said it is truly one of her favorite times of the year.

"What I love year after year is seeing on a beautiful Saturday morning the dad's with their little ones in their lacrosse and soccer jerseys out looking for a gift for Mom," Wilcox said. "It's the definition of what's amazing about downtown. It captures that old-fashioned feel which is so rare."

If you go:

What: Flower and Jazz Festival


When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7

Where: Downtown Westminster

Cost: Free

For more information: Visit www.westminstermd.gov/flowerjazz.