Just weeks after beating the best in the country to take out the Best Major Festival or Event at the Australian Tourism Awards for the third successive year and being inducted into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, the 70th anniversary program for the 2019 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has been unveiled, and it is world class.
Over 10 glorious days from September 20 to 29, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will shine as Australia’s most beautiful event.
Over 1,100 hectares of public parks and private gardens will be on display this year shining with over 180,000 bulbs and seedlings in full bloom. The program features a record 77 events (up from 66 last year), including award-winning parks and private gardens, internationally acclaimed music acts and some of the best food and wine experiences in the state! Plus, the Grand Central Floral Parade that stops the city!
The 70th program was officially unveiled today (30 April) by Councillor Geoff McDonald and had some very special people in attendance.
“Spring is coming, and that means Australia turns its eyes to Toowoomba for the best event in the country! Gardeners across the city have been planning and planting over the past month to ensure everything blooms in a perfectly timed carpet of colour for the expected 250,000 locals and visitors who celebrate with us,” he said.
“The 70th Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will begin on what we call Floral Friday (20 September) with the launch of the Heritage Bank Festival of Food & Wine in Queens Park together with the opening of over 80 gardens in The Chronicle Garden Competition, four exhibition gardens and the commencement of entertainment and tour programs across our extraordinary public parks and spaces throughout the city.”
The reigning Interflora World Cup champion, Brisbane-based Bart Hassam will create a spectacular floral installation for the opening weekend in Queens Park. Originally from Bundaberg, Bart is also five-time Australian Florist of the Year. In taking out the prestigious Interflora World Cup title at the Philadelphia Flower Show in the USA recently (referred to as the ‘Olympic Games’ of floristry) he cemented his place as a world leader.
The Heritage Bank Festival of Food & Wine this year stars an extraordinary musical line-up (names to be released later in May), over 50 produce and wine stalls celebrating flavours straight from the bountiful paddocks, orchards and vineyards of Southern Queensland Country region, cooking demonstrations by acclaimed Australian chef Adrian Richardson (La Luna, Good Chef Bad Chef), garden design talks by Dave Franklin of The Block fame as well as beer and BBQ master classes and incredible floral installations.
Cr McDonald said the Grand Central Floral Parade would this year be extra-special as well.
“On Saturday 21 September, Toowoomba will stand still with more than 100,000 people lining the streets for the parade. We are incredibly proud to present a spectacular parade featuring more than 60 entries this year based on the theme, The Power of the Flower,” he said.
“What makes the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers so special is that there is so much to experience – if you love emerging music, we have that. If you are a gardener, we have plenty! If you are a foodie, then prepare for flavour overload. If you love a low and slow BBQ with a beer to match, that’s easy! If you are here for gardening tips and tricks, then take a seat. If wine is your thing, then choose a colour! If you want to learn the history of our classic pubs, take in a steam train ride, experience a Tombstone Tour, be wowed by an amazing teapot exhibition or be surrounded by hanging flower baskets, then we also have all that!”
Attending the launch today was Felicity Schubert, whose mother Maureen Kistle (later Lady Schubert) graced the cover of the 1956 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Souvenir Program, and was the 1955 Miss Australia, as well as Kate Logan of South Toowoomba and her grandmother Elizabeth Cornford of Kearney’s Spring who watched the very first Carnival Parade on 28 October 1950.
Cr McDonald said it was wonderful to welcome Felicity, Kate, Mrs Cornford and Bart Hassam to the launch event. He said a highlight for all visitors would be the 70th Anniversary Memorabilia Gallery in the Annex at City Hall which runs for the full 10 days. Both the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and Toowoomba City Library will be running 70th anniversary programs as well.
“The event sees champions crowned in one of our signature events, The Chronicle Garden Competition. Eighty private gardens will be open across the city and surrounding country areas for viewing, and four Exhibition Gardens will also be open, selected for their natural beauty and creativity,” he said.
Other highlights include the return of the Night Garden powered by Ergon Energy Retail from 26 to 28 September, and the incredibly popular Petal & Pup self-tour program which was launched last year to great acclaim from both four-legged flower lovers and their humans!
“Wonderful entertainment programs will be staged in Laurel Bank and the Botanic Gardens for the whole 10 days, as well as information hubs open in each park as well as at Picnic Point. The parks experience continues with Boyce Gardens, the Japanese Gardens Ju Raku En, Spring Bluff Railway Station Gardens, Peacehaven Botanic Park and Gumbi Gumbi Gardens all perfectly curated for the event,” Cr McDonald said.
“The Laurel Bank Twilight Tours from 23 to 27 September is a stunning way to see our parks.
“One of the flavour-filled highlights of the event is the Qantas Gala Dinner on 19 September, which this year will be held in Civic Square in the CBD. Be prepared for a once in a lifetime dining experience; the menu and dining experience this year will be spectacular and not to be missed,” he said.
Over the full 10 days there is a full program of community events including the Toowoomba Clivia Society Annual Clivia Show, Toowoomba Orchid Society Spring Show, art exhibitions and creative workshops, the stunning Teapots Extravaganza, Spring Polo on the final weekend and the Highfields Pioneer Village Steampunk Festival.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said the event had come a long, long way since when it first began in 1949 as a way of generating interest in the city following the war!
“The event is synonymous with Toowoomba and is the very best celebration of spring in Queensland. It provides the region with a strong identity, one we can all be immensely proud of,” he said.
He said the event had been an important economic driver for 70 years, with this year, some 113 tours already booked, and visitors registered to attend from across the globe.
“Visitors don’t just come for the first weekend of ‘Carnival’, they extend their stay over the 10-day period and take in so much more, often exploring the region and certainly discovering Toowoomba’s fantastic restaurants, bars and natural beauty. Take this as my personal invitation to attend the 70th Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers from 20 to 29 September, to stay a few nights and really soak up everything this region has to offer.”
The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will be held from 20-29 September. For more information visit www.tcof.com.au