The Flower Fest takes flight in year two

Stop and smell the roses—and take a selfie with them too—at the second annual Flower Fest.

After last year’s inaugural festival sold more than 1,000 tickets and raised $27,327 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Flower Fest returns to Pointe Marie.

Next month, expect another weekend of Instagrammable backdrops and towering sculptures made from flowers and greenery, as well as food from local vendors garnished with pretty petals.

With a new theme of “Out of this World,” Flower Fest founder Amy Vandiver says this year’s competing florists are dreaming up sculptures that are otherworldly. Installations might glow in the dark or incorporate iridescent materials to make them seem like they belong in the gardens of neighboring planets.

This year’s space theme was inspired by Baton Rouge native and cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, who made history last fall as the youngest American to travel to space. Arceneaux has also been a spokesperson for St. Jude, which is the charity that the Flower Fest benefits.

“It was inspirational to see Hayley’s story. The fact that she’s from here and (went) to space tied into our theme with Louisiana, as well,” Vandiver says. “Last year, I remember us thinking (after the festival) ‘how in the world did we pull that off?’ So the ‘Out of this World’ theme seemed very fitting.”

Besides the new theme, this year’s Flower Fest has some changes to make it even better than 2021, Vandiver says. There will be more interactive floral photo opportunities that go along with the fun space theme.   

During the days of April 2-3, guests are welcome to walk through the festival, take photos, set up picnics and observe the installations.

The Flower Fest, Pointe-Marie

Nine florist teams will compete in the large sculpture competition this year. As ticket holders walk through the festival, they can cast their votes on which design is the best.

It’s too soon to say what creations the florists will dream up this year, but 2021’s large blooming sculptures resembled birds and buildings found throughout the state, including a 12-foot tall depiction of the state capitol built from 7,000 white and cream mums, live azaleas, a pink plumosa fern, alstroemeria, and hydrangea and asiatic lilies.

Vendors and food trucks will be set up for guests to enjoy, with purchases benefitting St. Jude. In true Flower Fest fashion, all vendors will sell products related to flowers, like floral resin trays and perfectly picked bouquets.

Starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, the separately ticketed “Out of this World” gala will celebrate the winner of the Fan Favorite award. At this year’s event, there will be an open bar, themed small bites and a DJ spinning music. Attendees can hang out, dance and take more photos.

Gala guests are encouraged to dress according to the theme—think floral-embroidered dresses or snazzy metallic jumpsuits.

When Vandiver started The Flower Fest in 2021, she hoped to bring a fresh idea for an event to a state that is already world-renowned for its festivals surrounding music, food and drinking. She’d watched the Netflix show The Big Flower Fight and was amazed by what artists and florists were able to do with blooms and petals. It seemed the perfect idea to bring to Louisiana.

Although all nine florist teams at last year’s event were local, Vandiver says she hopes this festival grows to include teams from all over the country.

“Our dream goal for this is to eventually have 50 sculptures from every state,” Vandiver says. “Each state can come to battle it out and represent their home at the festival. Then it can become something huge for the state of Louisiana, St. Jude and Baton Rouge.”


Memorable moments

Some of the scene-stealing creations from last year’s event:


This article was originally published in the March 2022 issue of 225 magazine.