Hi everyone!

For 27 years, Giant Food has made the blanket of flowers that will be draped over the winner of the Preakness Stakes. It was done in a Giant warehouse for awhile, but the location where the blanket is made is now the Giant location on York Road in Towson. The reason? It’s close to Pimlico Race Course.

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In case you didn’t know this, Maryland’s state flower is the black-eyed Susan. It’s a magnificent flower that blooms midway through the summer. It’s unique and beautiful, but the timing isn’t ideal. The bloom and the race don’t even occur during the same month.

So for years, the substitute was the daisy, with some paint to depict the black color of the center of the flower it’s imitating. Seriously, I witnessed this in person while covering a story years back. These days, the flower used is the Viking Mum, or Viking Pom. It is yellow and, like the Black-Eyed Susan, has a dark center.

Thousands of these flowers are used each year. Boxes and boxes are screened to find the freshest and largest flowers. Then a team of talented ladies clips the flowers’ heads and insert a green wire into the bottom to create a false stalk. That wire is then pushed through a rubber mesh cutout in the shape of a horse.

Green felt is then sewn onto the bottom of the mesh to make this flower blanket more comfortable for the horse. And this is all done the day before the second jewel of the Triple Crown. In other words, today.

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K2 and I sometimes marvel at the places “Where’s Marty?” has brought us. Today, in the lobby of a Giant store watching this iconic piece of Preakness tradition come together, we just had to smile because Saturday we will be watching as the florists’ work is displayed before a nationally televised audience.

And those Viking Mums will look beautiful.

Have a great weekend, find ya some fun and be safe! T.G.I.F.!

– Marty B!

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