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Toowoomba tourism to come into bloom as Carnival of Flowers confirms return

Culture

Toowoomba’s tourism sector will be blooming in September, with the city’s Mayor Paul Antonio announcing today that this year’s Carnival Flowers is going ahead.

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More than 170,000 blooms have been planted across the Garden City’s major parks and public spaces to create a colour canvas in what will provide a much-needed boost for the region in spring.

The confirmation follows last week’s news that this year’s Brisbane Festival will also proceeding in September, and Monday’s announcement that the Gold Coast’s Bleach Festival will go ahead in November.

The longest-running floral event of its kind in Australia, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, and this year the festival will be running from September 18-27.

“The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers was established in 1949 to stimulate the economy after the war, and some 71 years later we see this iconic national event again stepping up to the task of celebrating community spirit, welcoming visitors to the city and flying the flag for our region,” Antonio said.

The city’s parks and public spaces, including Laurel Bank Park and the Botanic Gardens of Queens Park, have not been affected by COVID-19 restrictions, and will be the focal point for this year’s celebrations.

The 2020 program will feature more than 30 events and activations, with organisers giving assurances that all events, experiences and areas would be managed with COVID-19-safe plans and requisite social-distancing measures.

The popular Night Garden, sponsored by Ergon Energy, will be embedded into the Botanic Gardens this year and become a free 10-day event.

One of the highlights of the annual carnival is the Grand Central Floral Parade will become a static installation of decorated floats throughout Grand Central shopping centre in the heart of the city.

A new addition to the 2020 program will be the “Itty-Bitty Parade”, a miniature-sized virtual parade that will air on big screens, websites and social media platforms on September 19.

Antonio said Toowoomba was “primed and ready to showcase its natural beauty”.

“After a spectacular 70th anniversary event in 2019, we were adamant that COVID-19 was not stopping us,” he said.

“Every day we field emails and calls from people right across Australia asking if Carnival is on, and I’d like to thank all our supporters and stakeholders for their understanding as we worked through the health concerns and attendance restrictions of this new world.

Antonio said he expected the park displays, which were the most popular attraction at last year’s Carnival of Flowers, to again be a major attraction.

“In 2019 the number one attraction for visitors was the public park floral displays, with Laurel Bank Park recording over 79,000 attendees and Queens Park Botanic Gardens over 106,000 visitors over the 10 days,” he said.

Some events, including the Heritage Bank Festival of Food and Wine, as well as the Qantas Gala Dinner, will be rested this year in line with COVID-19 social restrictions, and although Antonio said numbers were expected to be down this year, he encouraged locals to invite family and friends to the regi

“The 170,000 blooms will still colour the city and are all 100 per cent free to see,” he said. “We are the Garden City, our rich red volcanic soils along the escarpment and our dynamic black soil plains surrounding us are the envy of many green thumbs around the world, so we need to show the world how it’s done.

“It’s a celebration everyone can take part in and we look forward to welcoming everyone back again this September.”

He encouraged visitors from throughout Queensland and beyond to book early to avoid disappointment and said visitors would help lift the tourism sector in the region at a much-needed time.

“I encourage everyone to lock in their overnight stays in Toowoomba early, book your bed plus your dining locations now so you can be guaranteed a spot. There is so much to see and do with all the petals in our parks.

“Take a road trip around the region, buy a treat or two and help local businesses get back on their feet.”

For more details, visit tcof.com.au

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