BIRMINGHAM, AL – Cameron Pappas, CPA and Co-Owner and Vice President of Norton's Florist, spoke about the effort to decorate the Rotary Trail in Birmingham, Yellowhammer News reported.
The Rotary Trail, according to its website, opened April 2016 and features at its entrance a 46-foot-tall sign which reads: Rotary Trail in the Magic City, modeled after the historic Birmingham the Magic City sign. The trail is named after the city’s Rotary Club, one of the largest such clubs in the world, which spearheaded the project as part of its centennial celebration in 2013. Birmingham was nicknamed Magic City for its rapid growth in the late 19th century and later was called the “Pittsburgh of the South” after Pennsylvania’s center of iron and steel production, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
The half mile Rotary Trail stretches from 20th Street to 24th Street, and links two of the city's unique attractions. Near its western end, the 19-acre Railroad Park offers a rail-trail, skate park, playground, and overlooks for train-spotting and viewing the city's skyline. Near the east end of the Rotary Trail is a National Historic Landmark, the Sloss Furnaces, which serviced the city's iron-producing industry for nearly a century.
Early on June 5, about 25 florists joined in decorating the Rotary Trail, including Pappas who said, “as a beautiful start to the weekend, florists swathed the trail in greenery, roses and colorful blooms of all sorts,” Yellowhammer News reported, adding that “people even brought flowers from their yards.”
Bringing “light and joy to Birmingham residents,” the effort began at the trail’s entrance, Yellowhammer News reported.
“I was laying in bed Sunday night, watching these scenes unfold where Birmingham was in chaos. Seeing this was so sad,” said Pappas, Yellowhammer News reported, adding that when Carolyn Chen, owner of Wild Things Flowers & Curiosities in Homewood, called Pappas later, “an idea was born,” as “Chen thought that decorating the entrance of the Rotary Trail could be a start to bringing emotional healing to the Magic City.”
Pappas said, “Carolyn wanted to figure out how to help the city heal after this past weekend and the coronavirus…Flowers bring joy. Whether it’s a sad time like a funeral or a happy occasion like a birthday, flowers bring happiness,” Yellowhammer News reported.
Pappas and Chen invited about 55 florists from a 40-mile area around the city to help, and “three wholesale flower distributors in Birmingham – Davis, R&W Wholesale Inc. and Hall’s Birmingham Wholesale Florist – donated flowers and greenery,” Yellowhammer News reported.
“It’s cool to have everyone in an industry come together. We want to make people happy, and give them something to look at besides broken glass and boarded up windows,” Pappas said, Yellowhammer News reported.
Many of the florists live-streamed the event on Facebook and posted photos and videos on social media which attracted visitors from the local area as well as those from farther afield.
Pappas said that “seeing people join together to help was an amazing sight,” Yellowhammer News reported.
“People were cutting flowers, using their talents to help. Everyone was busy beautifying the Rotary Trail with one thought: We love Birmingham. We love this city and our people,” Pappas said, Yellowhammer News reported.