Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is a 10-day celebration to showcase stunning gardens, fine wines, exceptional regional produce, inspired fashion & arts and a musical lineup of national headline acts. Toowoomba, known nationally as Australia’s ‘Garden City’ is set high on the Great Dividing Range, 127 kms west of Brisbane.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers was Australia’s longest running horticultural event for good reason – because, like a good garden, it continued to evolve and nurture new elements, new areas and new experiences. “This is one of the most exciting programs we have ever staged,” he said. “The event once again successfully combines fashion with gardens, music with food; and shines the light on the paddock to plate movement. Most importantly this event has our local community at heart as it did back when it all began 65 years ago.”
The 2014 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers features more than 17 major events (and a multitude of community arranged events), across 21 venues, starring 130 performers, including 5 chefs, headlined by Alive and Cooking’s Chef James Reeson along with ABC TV Gardening Australia’s Gardening Guru Josh Byrne. Musically the Heritage Bank Live program (staged in the E rgon Energy Flower, Food and Wine Festival precinct in Queens Park) wants for nothing – Australian legends ICEHOUSE and Deborah Conway headline an all-star lineup including 90’s star rock band Something for Kate and Australian breakthrough bands The Kite String Tangle, Saskwatch and San Cisco as well as music and dance sensations Justice Crew among others!! Dorothy the Dinosaur is even making star appearances!
The lead event, the inaugural Mayoral Gala Dinner on Thursday, 18th September was a five-course degustation menu under the stars in the Arbour in Upper Queens Park. Diners also enjoyed a preview of the winning entries in the Floral Art Design competition and the launch of the Culture to Couture fashions.
The floral masterpieces on show in The Chronicle Home Garden Competition, the exhibition gardens and the city’s civic parks remain a spectacular drawcard right through Spring – this year’s Grand Champion gardeners are Kevin and Dianna Drew of’ ‘Kevanna’, 17 Ward Street, Highfields whilst Cheryl and Kelly Fry have the Reserve Champion Garden at 21 Dallang Road, Middle Ridge. These and a number of Exhibition Gardens are open for charity during the Carnival of Flowers from Friday 19th to Sunday, 28th September. Details of all organised garden tours, including the hop-on, hop-off bus and the morning and afternoon guided tours available may be booked online at www.tcof.com.au or by calling Stonestreet’s Coaches on 4687 5555.
The crowd-pleasing highlight of the Carnival is the Grand Central Floral Parade from 3pm on Saturday, 20th September – the single event that unites and inspires the thousands who line the streets to witness its colour and pageantry. This year’s theme is “A Storybook of Colour.
The parade will be led by towering, life-size, animatronic dinosaurs walking with the stars of Star Wars, beside Little Red Riding Hood, alongside rollerbladers and fairies to the spine-tingling sounds of a Celtic Band amidst a stunning lineup of fresh floral floats, flanked by stiltwalkers, street performers and carnival characters! Each of almost 80 entries in this year’s parade have interpreted the theme their own special way, some have opted to tell their own individual story, others have adopted characters from famous nursery rhymes. The Grand Central Floral Parade will wend its spectacular way through the heart of Toowoomba’s CBD to the Godsall Street Oval in Queens Park.
*Ticketing details for the Ergon Energy Flower, Food and Wine Festival, including the Heritage Bank Live Concert Series, can be found at www.tcof.com.au Patrons this year can upgrade to a platinum ticket package which offers access to a marquee with private bathrooms, seated views of the performance stage and a cash bar. The daily $120 platinum package also includes a complimentary drink and a meal from any of the festival outlets.