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Flower power: Record month-long program as Toowoomba blooms

Culture

Preparations are underway to plant 190,000 blooms as the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers returns in September with an extra 20 days of programming, marking the largest carnival in its 72-year history.

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The Carnival forged ahead in 2020 despite Covid-19, with 200,000 people attending from far and wide, and laid the groundwork for this year’s extended event.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio announced that the usual 10-day Carnival would be extended to run the full month of September, from September 1 to 30, with extra events to boot.

“This year our incredible event will take place over 30 petal-filled days, to allow for greater visitation, business connections and community engagement,” he said.

“Our Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers bloomed in the most wonderful way in a time no-one thought possible. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all over Australia this Spring.”

The theme of the carnival is flowers and flavours, with the Festival of Food and Wine being held over three days from September 10-12, and the show stopping Grand Central Floral Parade on Saturday September 18.

Queensland’s Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers had grown into a highly anticipated event.

“This year’s extended event will mean even more visitors will be able to experience Toowoomba’s iconic Carnival during the region’s most spectacular time of year,” Hinchliffe said.

“Toowoomba’s month-long Carnival has blossomed into one of Australia’s favourite celebrations of food, wine, flowers and local produce,” he said.

“The extended format is expected to spread the Carnival’s economic benefit to the region by encouraging visitors to stay longer, supporting local jobs and Toowoomba’s economic recovery, which is already underway.”

Grand Central Floral Parade 2019 (Image: Supplied)

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers began in 1949 as a wartime relief effort, it was organised to celebrate the community and stimulate the economy in the aftermath of World War II. 72 years later, Toowoomba will see the largest iteration of the Carnival to date.

The success of last year’s Covid-19 programming has allowed the Carnival to bring back crowd favourite events and add some new ones across September.

Throughout the month, there will be magnificent floral displays held at Queens Park, the Botanic Gardens and Laurel Bank Park, the #trEATS regional food trail will show the best of local eateries, the Night Garden will showcase twilight floral displays, there will be the famed Talking Pubs tours, and more.

Chair of the Toowoomba Regional Council Environment and Community Services Committee Cr James O’Shea said he was thrilled to announce the return of crowd favourites and the addition of some new events, specially curated for 2021.

“In a major coup for foodies, we will be bringing High Cheese to Spring Bluff, to be held in partnership with Lockyer Valley Regional Council and hosted by famed chef and local produce champion, Alastair McLeod,” he said.

“This will be an extraordinary experience, given it is happening at the beautiful heritage-listed station that boasts 150 years of railway history and magnificent gardens. Tickets to this will sell out fast.”

“We also welcome Cinema Under the Stars, a free community event in the leafy lawns of the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery, with a line-up of classic movies featured. What a fabulous new experience,” he said.

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers begins on September 1 and runs until September 30, for more information visit the TCOF website.

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