New Surprises and Lasting Memories: Macy’s 2017 Flower Show

This year, spring arrived at our stores in a special way – the annual Macy’s Flower Show. The colorful, whimsical theme of Carnival enchanted our customers at three of our flagship locations: our Union Square store in San Francisco, State Street store in Chicago, and Herald Square store in New York. The show ran March 26 – April 9. While Macy’s Flower Show is a 70-year-old iconic tradition, technological developments in light and sound brought the flowers to life this year in a new way. Step behind-the-scenes with Coast to Coast to find out what made this year’s flower show so special.

Macy’s set aside more than 100,000 square feet of space in the stores and displayed over 5,000 types of plants. More than a million visitors came to all three stores to watch the floral spectaculars. The 2017 Flower Show was definitely different from years past. Discover why in our interview with Susan Tercero, GVP of Production, Macy's Branded Entertainment.

Was there anything new or different about this flower show versus past flower shows?

This year we incorporated a lot of light, sound and movement throughout the show to tell the story of our theme, Carnival. Visitors got to see our interpretation of a carousel of flowers, complete with lights and movement, as well as bumper cars, photo booths and a miniature roller coaster!

Why does Macy’s do a flower show? Why is this special for our company? What was the original mission of the flower show and why did it start over 70 years ago?

The flower show began over 70 years ago in our Union Square store in San Francisco as a fragrance event. They planted large bouquets of flowers around the selling floor, and it’s a tradition that carried over to other stores over the years. This year, our show was in three markets: San Francisco Union Square, Chicago State Street and New York Herald Square. Our company is rich with tradition and history, and we like to do things in a big way. In New York our talented Parade Studio artisans, the same people who design and build the floats for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, designed and built the structures that house all of the plants. This year, they did a masterful interpretation of the carousel with beautifully hand-sculpted and hand-painted carousel figures, as well as all of the other design elements that complemented the flowers.

Why did Macy’s pick Carnival this year for the theme?

We like for our flower shows to transport the customer into another environment. This year’s theme Carnival allowed us to bring another layer of fun and nostalgia to our show. Carnivals are all about an experience that people typically have, and they invoke fond memories for many people. This speaks to the heart of what we do with our large events – create lasting memories and experiences for people for a lifetime.

What made each show unique in New York, Chicago and San Francisco?

Each location had its own version of a carousel. In New York, the carousel was deconstructed as you entered the space, and because of the height in the store, it felt very grand and immersive. In Chicago the show was in an auditorium on the ninth floor, so visitors were truly able to walk through the gardens, and admire the carnival up close. In San Francisco the carousel was imagined through a praxinoscope, which is an animation device that has a strip of images moving quickly in a cylinder that was developed in the late 1800s prior to the invention of the moving picture.

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to go see the flowers in person, or want to “visit” the flowers again, you can share in the magic of opening day at the Macy’s Herald Square location in our photo gallery. The flowers haven’t stopped blooming below.


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