WhileÂ Toowoomba’s critically acclaimed gardens and the Grand Central Floral Parade remain at the heart of this world-leading celebration(September 19 to 28, 2014) the Carnival has morphed over its 65-year history into a festival of food and wine, fashion and the arts, music that crosses all genres, design, masterclasses and more.
The 2014 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will feature more than 17 events across 21 venues, starring 130 performers, including five chefs, headlined by Alive and Cooking’s Chef James Reeson along with ABC TV Gardening Australia gardening guru Josh Byrne.
In the Heritage Bank Live Concert Series Australian legends Icehouse and Deborah Conway headline an all-star line-up including Killer Queen, 90’s star rock band Something for Kate and Australian breakthrough bands The Kite String Tangle, Saskwatch and San Cisco, as well as Jeremy Neale, Tim Campbell’s High School Disco and music and dance sensations Justice Crew.
Dorothy the Dinosaur will beÂ making star appearances and Animatronic dinosaurs will make their home in Grand Central Shopping Centre, sometimes escaping to roam the city streets.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers was Australia’s longest running horticultural event for good reason â€“ 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.
“It perfectly merges incredible local and national talent, both in the garden and on the stage, and showcases the wonderful local produce we have on offer in the region.”
Tourism and Events portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald said residents and visitors would be spoilt for choice during a fabulous spring festival. “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. These incredible gardens and parks are the heartbeat of the Carnival, they were the reason this event was given life in 1950, and they remain pivotal to its ongoing success,” Cr McDonald said.
“Last year, Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers had 117,000 people attend our events, with 62,851 people from outside our region.
During 2012 and 2013 we strategically targeted to extend our tour market with groups travelling from Queensland and New South Wales and a large growth from Mackay and Cairns. The results were amazing with 58,850 people staying two to three nights and 12,123 staying four to five nights.
“With an economic return of $26.6 million last year this means business for our city, for our hotels and restaurants and much more,” Cr McDonald said.
Also at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers launch at the Cube Hotel, 18-year-old university student Libby Coghlan was introduced as the 2014 Carnival Ambassador.
The former St Ursula’s College student, Libby said she was overwhelmed to win the prestigious title.
“I’ve enjoyed attending past Carnivals and have been involved in the parade with the Toowoomba School of Dance,” she said. “I was happy to enter the Ambassador program and see how I might be able to have a greater personal involvement in the festival. I have an interest in event management and am keen to see how a big event like Carnival works behind the scenes.”
A current Bachelor of Arts and Business student at the University of Southern Queensland, Libby has a passion for dancing. She has a Level IV Diploma in Vocational Graded Examination in Dance: Advanced 2 (Ballet) and Graded Examination in Ballet: Grade 8.
Since 2008 she has choreographed and performed in Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland and also has participated in and helped aspiring dancers performing in Benecke’s Music Academy Concert. Her other community work has included helping at fundraisers such as the Blue Ball and Diabetes Day Out.
Libby’s strong interest in cultural activities also has seen her working with Toowoomba singer Josh Arnold’s Small Town Culture project, which encourages children to sing and dance.
Media Relations Officer
Stakeholder Engagement and Communication
Toowoomba Regional Council