As winter drags on, it’s nice to be reminded by the Cathedral Flower Festival that spring is just one or two corner turns away.
“The timing couldn’t be better,” said Brother William Woeger, executive director of the Cathedral Arts Project. “Right now, it’s always icky or dreary or wet or snowy.”
Since 1985, the annual flower festival has aimed to take Omahans’ minds off the winter doldrums in the unique setting of historic St. Cecilia Cathedral. This year’s theme, “For Everything a Season,” celebrated special days in the coming year such as Father’s Day, a wedding day, Memorial Day or Christmas.
Woeger said the Twelve Days of Christmas exhibit caused a slowdown as visitors searched to find all the symbols from the song, including the 12 drummers drumming. The Father’s Day display, featuring a fishing pole, golf clubs, a ball glove and a garden hose, was near the cathedral’s statue of St. Joseph, Woeger said.
“I can just imagine St. Joseph enjoying his day golfing or fishing or doing any of those other things,” he said .
Asking Woeger to pick the best exhibit is a little like asking a father to choose a favorite child. He mentioned the quinceañera day, Father’s Day and Native American exhibits before a smile crossed his face.
“The tree in the middle of the room. It was done by our Cathedral Flower Guild,” he said. “It’s the Tree of Life, and it represents the four seasons.”
This year’s festival was dedicated to participating florists and designers over the past 35 years. Doris Helfrich, who has contributed floral designs since 1988, was singled out for her work.
Helfrich, who has worked in floral design for 43 years, is a member of the Nebraska Florists Society and the Academy of Floral Designers. She became a Nebraska Master Florist in 1995 and was inducted into the Nebraska Florist Hall of Fame in 2009.
“She’s made a real contribution as the liaison between the floral community and the Cathedral Arts Project,” Woeger said. “We are very grateful for her support.”
Visitors on Sunday included Pat Thiem of Fort Calhoun, who couldn’t remember the last time she missed a show, and Edie Solomon, a 94-year-old first-timer from Blair.
Thiem attended with family members, including her grandson’s fiancée, Tatum Allensworth of Red Oak, Iowa. Allensworth was thrilled to see that the wedding day exhibit included a gown by the same designer who is making her dress.
“This is something I look forward to every year,” Thiem said. “I enjoy it so much because everything is beautifully done. It’s just breathtaking.”
Solomon, who came to the show with two daughters, said the Chinese New Year exhibit with orange balloons and white cherry blossoms was among her favorites.
“I can’t believe how lovely everything is,” Solomon said. “It’s gorgeous.”