1. I visited the Chicago Flower and Garden Show for the third year on Friday, but this time came armed with my fancy camera!
I look forward to the flower show every year, but I won’t lie: this year was a letdown. For one thing, the show was a lot shorter than in years past (historically, it’s taken place over two weekends and the interceding week; this year, it only lasted five days), which made it trickier to find time to go, particularly when you consider that one of those weekend days was St. Patrick’s Day. The idea of tackling Navy Pier on St. Patrick’s Day was not appealing, eliminating Saturday as a possible day to visit the show.
So I went on Friday. Maybe going on Friday instead of a Saturday like usual made a difference, but the show felt empty. It seemed like there was next to no one there, which wasn’t very encouraging. On top of that, I felt like there were WAY fewer gardens–and the gardens that were there felt way smaller–than when I attended the show in 2016 and 2017.
I was really bummed that Mariano’s wasn’t there with a flower market, and I didn’t see Proven Winners anywhere either: another garden I always enjoy. The only positive thing I have to say about the show, really, was that the tablescapes, usually my least favorite part of the entire show, hit it out of the park with the “Flowertales” theme. All of them were clearly inspired by some story or book, and naturally the English major in me appreciated that.
Although they did have free craft beer tastings this year, which seemed pretty unrelated to flowers but was still a nice touch.
I’ll probably go to the show again next year to see what it’s like, but my expectations are pretty low. If it’s not good next year, my Chicago and Flower Garden Show attending days might be over.
2. Speaking of things that I’m curious about, I am SO CURIOUS to see how the Shamrock Shuffle shapes up on Sunday.
As I documented briefly in my recap of last year’s race and expanded upon about six weeks ago, it is no secret to anyone who keeps an eye on race results that the number of Shamrock Shuffle finishers has TANKED over the past five years or so:
2017: 20,005–apparently, the race gained 10 extra finishers from when I looked up my results for my recap last year and this week, which just so happens to push the total into the 20,000 range. I’m trying hard to not view this as suspicious.
2015: 22,884 (This was the year the race was yellow flagged due to high winds)
The race has gone from being one that sold out to being one that is absolutely marketed to death–oh my gosh, I have received SO. MANY. EMAILS. begging me to sign up for the race over the past several months. Heck, they were pushing the race DURING the Chicago Marathon last year! The advertising, the newly(ish)-scaled price structure, the extra swag: all of this, combined with the race results, indicates to me that the race is desperate for more finishers and a return to the race’s glory days.
However, the St. Patrick’s Day/Shamrock Shuffle-themed email that Fleet Feet sent out for its weekly newsletter on March 10 claims that “the race [is gearing] up for one of its largest fields in recent memory.” What do we think, peanut gallery?? Do you think that’s true? I’m kind of inclined to think it’s true, since Fleet Feet partners with the race. It would be a stupid thing to lie about, given how easy it is to find finisher numbers from past years. Then again, BibRave apparently partners with the Shamrock Shuffle too, and its ambassadors’ posts shilling the race claimed that the race gets over 30,000 finishers each year, which is flat-out not true (see above), so who knows?
Anyway, because I am far too interested in wildly unimportant things about Bank of America races (you should’ve seen my post about my suspicions about the size of last year’s Chicago Marathon field: a post I had the sense to delete while still a draft to avoid coming off as a conspiracy theorist) I think I’m more curious to see how many people finish this race on Sunday than I am to see how I do.
3. I planned to use this space to brag about my best-performing bracket (88.8th percentile on ESPN, heyyyyyyy), which is fortunately also the bracket I entered into my family pool, but I have something MUCH bigger to muse about today:
If you are unfamiliar with my Broadway obsession, hello, welcome to my blog, I’ve barely listened to anything but show soundtracks for over a year. I’m particularly fond of Hamilton (who isn’t?), and last year took a trip to New York exclusively to see Dear Evan Hansen with (most of) the original cast. Unsurprisingly, when Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted a picture of Ben Platt last Wednesday with the caption, “I’m really excited/nervous about Monday’s March #Hamildrop, cuz it’s for you kids…” I lost my mind. (Hamildrops are Hamilton-related new music that comes out every month in 2018.) I’ve continued to lose my mind even more since the Hamildrop came out on Monday, since it’s a collaboration between Lin-Manuel Miranda (HAMILTON HIMSELF) and Ben Platt (EVAN HANSEN HIMSELF), with a mashup of a song from Hamilton and a song from Dear Evan Hansen written to support March for Their Lives.
*continues flailing forever*
In the words of another Pasek & Paul song, “It’s everything you ever waaaaant! It’s everything you ever neeeeeed! And it’s here right in front of youuuuuu!” I’m ob.sessed., and think you should be, too 😛
Who’s running the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday?