Community comes first as petals power parade

It’s the event that stops and unites the city – the Grand Central Floral Parade during the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will be more fantastic and floral than ever, given 14 community groups have received support grants sponsored by Heritage Bank.

Event partner, Grand Central Centre Manager Claire Torkington said all eyes would be on the Grand Central Floral Parade this year, given COVID-19 last year caused the beloved celebration to be re imagined as a static parade.

“We’re all so excited to welcome back one of the highlights of Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers in the Grand Central Floral Parade, with thousands of families expected to line the streets to watch the colour go by. This year the parade will be held on Saturday September 18 with a much earlier start time of 10am, allowing crowds to enjoy a full day of shopping, sightseeing and adventuring in our city,” Ms Torkington said. 


“And what a spectacle it will be because in even more wonderful news, 14 community groups have received a support grant sponsored by Heritage Bank for their parade floats to cover design, decorations, artwork and presentation. It takes so much to get these floats from warehouses and backyards to our high streets, and we applaud the groups that take part and make the magic happen, and of course Heritage Bank for their fantastic support,” she said.


As Major Partners of Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock said “The Grand Central Floral Parade is such a unique, colorful and community-driven event, to see it back, and brighter than ever before will be a joyful experience for everyone, regardless of age!


“Heritage Bank is committed to providing a helping hand to community groups so they can participate in this iconic event.  A little bit of help can go a long way and Heritage Bank is keen to show support and help celebrate the amazing community spirit that can be discovered in Toowoomba”


Nerrida Wolfe, Disability Program Coordinator for Life Without Barriers (LWB) said receiving the grant meant the organisation can make their float the best it can be, reflecting their LWB values of being respectful, building relationships, being responsive, being imaginative, and being courageous.


“This grant means our clients are able to be involved in the parade, as Life Without Barriers is a not-for-profit organisation, and our clients are on Disability Pensions, it gives them the opportunity to showcase their creativity, personalities and self-expression in helping to work on the theme and design for the float,” she said.


“In celebrating the values of LWB, we have chosen the theme Emerging Landscape and are creating beautiful butterflies, and we plan to repurpose as many of the items and costumes as we can, to create an event later in the year – a Butterfly Ball.”


“The parade brings the local community together, it is inclusive, it showcases Toowoomba to the rest of Australia and the world. It builds and strengthens friendships and business relationships, and it celebrates all the organisations which participate. It shows we are all building bridges and moving forward from events of the last 18 months.”


Jamie Smith from The Rotary Club of Toowoomba Metropolitan said the grant had enabled the club to adorn their float with fresh flowers.


“Last year we were restricted to paper flowers and whilst they had a certain visual impact, there is nothing quite like the real thing and we couldn’t do it without the grant. Building and decorating a float has been a relatively new addition to our club, but it’s an important one. It means not only the members, but all our families can get involved in an activity that’s purely pleasurable – adorning a float with flowers in Spring. You just can’t get any better than that,” he said.


Community groups receiving the grants include the Darling Downs Irish Club Inc (DDIC), Victory Life Toowoomba, Tony’s Community Kitchen Ltd, Toowoomba Malayali Association, Falun Dafa Association of Australia QLD Branch Inc., Carnival Past Quest Queens, QCWA Darling Downs Division, Rotary Club of Toowoomba Metropolitan, Oakey Chamber of Commerce, Chiselhurst Kindergarten Association Inc., Toowoomba City Rollers Inc., The Scout Association of Australia QLD Branch Inc., Life Without Barriers and the Downs Steam Historical Rail Museum.



Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers – A History

Since its inception in 1949, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has flourished and is now an iconic Queensland event.  The brainchild of Essex Tait and the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce, Carnival was introduced as a way for the city to use its “Garden City” reputation to promote increased economic activity following the hardships of war. On 21 October 1950, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers commenced with a street procession that stretched three miles in length. Led by a bullock team and watched by a crowd estimated to be 50,000 strong, it was a resounding success, as it has been ever since.


Awards and Accolades

Gold winner 2019 Queensland Tourism Award for Destination Marketing

State Finalist 2019 Australian Tourism Awards for Destination Marketing

Australian Tourism Hall of Fame Inductee 2018 Major Festivals & Events

Queensland Tourism Hall of Fame Inductee 2017 Major Festivals & Events

Gold winner 2018, 2017, 2016 Australian Tourism Award for Major Festivals & Events

Gold winner 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 Queensland Tourism Award for Major Festivals & Events

Most Supportive Community Event 2017 Queensland Wine Awards

Event category Winner 2015 Parks & Leisure Australia Awards of Excellence

Gold winner 2014 Queensland Tourism Awards for Festivals and Events