Plans abloom for a ’60s-style Saturday

flashsmile_women_550
Rachael Pletz (left) and Amanda Jackson hold up a flier announcing the pro-love "Flash Smile" gathering Saturday at Love Park.

Love will be more than a sculpture Saturday afternoon at John F. Kennedy Plaza.

At 1 p.m., a "flash smile" - as opposed to a "flash mob" - will form, organizers hope, and throngs of people will share goodwill, sit peacefully for a while, then engage in a huge group hug.

Signs and shirts will say "You are beautiful" on what could be a beautiful day.

Expect '60s-style "flower power," too, courtesy of blooms donated by Flowers & Co., near Rittenhouse Square.

But not too '60s. A protest for pot it's not.

That would be a late afternoon South Philadelphia march, starting at Broad and South Streets.

The LOVE Park happening is the brainchild - or love child - of waitress Rachael Pletz, Temple University student Amanda Jackson, who think the world can use more positivity.

"The main message is that you are beautiful," said Pletz, who moved here last year from Reading. "We're really, really excited."

The event calls to mind another LOVE Park lovefest: In October 2006, three West Philadelphia women, carrying "Free Hugs" signs, shared embraces with hundreds of strangers over two hours.

Just by handing out fliers and e-mailing, Pletz, Jackson and a circle of good friends have found lots of like-minded souls.

"The reaction from other people has been amazing," said Jackson, who grew up in Center City. "There has been a lot of synergy. I've got nothing but positive reaction."

The pro-weed walk will be one of a few hundred Saturday billed collectively as the 2010 Global Cannabis March.

About 4:20 p.m., marchers will head toward Headhouse Square, where speakers will call for easing of marijuana laws, according to PhillyNORML, which is helping run the event.

NORML stands for National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

With good weather, the turnout should be much higher than last year, when 600 marched in "pouring rain," said Chris Goldstein, communications director for PhillyNORML.

Smoking pot is not part of the planned protest.

"We don't encourage that," he said. "It's still against the law. Last year there were people who engaged in their own personal civil disobedience, but there were no arrests."


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.