It may the middle of winter right now but before long it will be spring. Where do you want to find yourself when spring blooms? How about a sea of flowers in the middle of a heritage city just two hours west of Brisbane? That’s right. Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2020 is not cancelled. Woohoo!
The power of the flower will relieve us all of winter (and pandemic) doldrums when the iconic Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers (TCOF) celebrations return in September. Frankly, it can’t come soon enough.
With so many major events being cancelled this year, the award winning outing will be one of the first major events to be staged post-lockdown.
The most instagrammable event of the year!
This morning, the organisers announced that 170,000 blooms were planted across the city’s major parks and public spaces to herald the arrival of spring. Once they bloom, they will create a spectacular canvas of colour across the garden city.
The festival began back in 1949 as a way for Toowoomba to leverage their ‘Garden City’ reputation and promote economic activity during the era of hardship following the war. In 1950, the famous street procession began. At the time it was led by a bullock team, stretched three miles, and was watched by a crowd estimated to be 50,000! No small feat for the 50s.
Following that undeniable success, TCOF has since become mecca for flower fans. They travel from all around the world to take in the blooming views, such is the Power of the Petal. The festival has blossomed into so much more. TCOF is now, literally, the gold standard celebration of unique events and experiences. The roster includes internationally acclaimed musical acts, award winning parks, and some of the best food and wine to be found in Southern Queensland.
Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2020
The 2020 program features over 30 events and activations with 48 local tour departures ready to go. All events, experiences, and areas will be managed with COVID-19 safe plans in place.
“Toowoomba is primed and ready to showcase it’s natural beauty. Nothing can stop the power of the flower and we are inviting people from all over to come and play in the petals this Spring,” Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said.
While major drawcards Laurel Bank Park and the Botanic Gardens of Queens Park will not be affected by COVID-19 restrictions, safety of festival guests will be top priority. The event will adhere to any regulations still in place in September.
In a creative twist, the famous Grand Central Floral Parade will become a static installation of decorated floats throughout Grand Central shopping centre in the heart of the city. A miniature-sized virtual parade, called The Itty-Bitty Parade, will air on big screens, websites and social media at 3pm on September 19.
Mayor Antonio said that in line with COVID19-safe requirements, the Heritage Bank Festival of Food and Wine, as well as the Qantas Gala Dinner, will both be rested in 2020.
“After a spectacular 70th anniversary event in 2019, we were adamant that COVID-19 was not stopping us,” Mayor Antonio said.
“While numbers may be down this year due to COVID-19, the 170,000 blooms will still colour the city and are all 100 per cent free to see. 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. This is what makes Carnival so special. It’s a celebration everyone can take part in and we look forward to welcoming everyone back again this September.”
New and Improved
Far more than flowers, for years TCOF has also been celebrating the region’s finest tastes. 2020 will kick it up a notch with #trEATS. The hashtagged food trail will showcase the incredible range and quality of the region. More than 60 local tastemakers across the city will each offer $20 springtime #trEATs during the festival.
The Talking Pubs Tour will return taking in the views and brews across the city. There will be not one but two Foodie Dinner Tours this year. Tour 1 goes to the Cobb+Co Museum, inbound at the Toowoomba historic railway station and Gip’s Restaurant. Tour 2 goes to Café Valetta overlooking Queens Park,Charred atop the Toowoomba range and Kingfisher Café.
The Night Garden, the popular attraction powered by Ergon Energy, is being embedded into the Botanic Gardens and will become a free 10-day event. The Night Garden was previously a paid, two day, event.
We’ll bring you more from this popular event shortly but we’ll leave you with one important consideration — accommodation. While it’s a popular destination for daytrippers, TCOF hosts more to see than a day trip allow and accommodation will get really tight, really quickly. So book now. The full program and details of accommodation, entertainment, food, organised and guided garden tours can be found at the official site.