Flowers fill St. Cecilia Cathedral for annual festival

A large archway with an assortment of pink flowers garnered oohs and aahs at St. Cecilia Cathedral, where more than 40 designers created floral displays for the 28th annual Cathedral Flower Festival.

Floral arrangements of all shapes, sizes and colors filled St.Cecilia Cathedral for the 28th annual Cathedral Flower Festival.

More than 40 designers created arrangements for the Saturday and Sunday festival that showcased their work and the floral industry. This year's theme was “A Floral Fantasy.”

“We told them to just have at it and celebrate their business and flowers,” said Brother William Woeger, executive director of the Cathedral Arts Project.

Some participants took the advice to celebrate their businesses literally: Hy-Vee designers filled a shopping cart with blooms; Janousek Florist employees highlighted the company's history alongside their arrangements.

Mary Clemens said she spent nearly 15 hours helping to assemble one of the displays. It was worth the effort because of how visitors reacted, she said.

“It's fun to see. Everyone smiles.”

The gloomy, rainy weather on Sunday failed to deter visitors, with expected attendance estimated by Woeger as 7,000 to 10,000 people.

“Usually the worse the weather, the more people come,” he said. “It's an alternative to what's going on out there.”

Sunday's weather was perfect because it wasn't a bitterly cold day, he said.

Suzanne Henmann, who attended the festival for the first time Sunday, said it was a “bright spot in winter.”

The weather, in addition to a love of flowers, motivated Janice Niemann and Sue Cornwell to attend.

“They're all beautiful,” Niemann said of the arrangements.

However, the two women quickly identified a favorite — a large archway in the middle of the cathedral decorated with an assortment of pink flowers.

Woeger described the annual event as “a public thank you.”

“It's showing beauty through flowers,” he said.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1304,

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