Queensland’s biggest event invites you to… Play in the Petals this Spring
The power of the flower is set to reign this year with the iconic Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers today announcing that over 170,000 blooms have been planted across the city’s major parks and public spaces to create a spectacular canvas of colour for much needed celebrations in September.
In a year that has seen a raft of events cancelled due to COVID-19, today the Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio confirmed that the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will bloom brightly again this September, as one of the first major events to be staged post-lockdown.
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,” Mayor Antonio said.
In what was a nod to history, Mayor Antonio said the event would once again be the shining light for the region. “The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers was established in 1949 to stimulate the economy after the war, and some 71 years later we see this iconic national event again stepping up to the task of celebrating community spirit, welcoming visitors to the city and flying the flag for our region.”
Headlining the 2020 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers are the parks and public spaces, including Laurel Bank Park and the Botanic Gardens of Queens Park, not affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Floral displays, music and parkland entertainment, a Ferris wheel, food trucks and twilight tours will all take place right across September in the parks.
The Night Garden, powered by Ergon Energy, is being embedded into the Botanic Gardens and will become a free 10-day event. More than 106,000 people enjoyed the Botanic Gardens during the 10 days of Carnival in 2019.
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 new addition to the 2020 program is the Itty-Bitty Parade, a miniature-sized virtual parade that will air on big screens, websites and social media platforms at 3pm on September 19.
The program features a new region-wide food trail called #trEATS, as well as the popular Talking Pub and Foodie Dinner Tours, guided and non-guided walking tours, as well as activations at the famous Spring Bluff Railway Station, Cobb + Co Museum and the much-loved floral group displays.
“After a spectacular 70th anniversary event in 2019, we were adamant that COVID-19 was not stopping us,” Mayor Antonio said.
“Every day we field emails and calls from people right across Australia asking if Carnival is on, and I’d like to thank all our supporters and stakeholders for their understanding as we worked through the health concerns and attendance restrictions of this new world.
“In 2019 the number one attraction for visitors was the public park floral displays, with Laurel Bank Park recording over 79,000 attendees and Queens Park Botanic Gardens over 106,000 visitors over the 10 days.
“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.”
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.
He encouraged locals to invite their family and friends to Toowoomba for the event in September, to “show off” the city in the best possible way!
“I encourage everyone to lock in their overnight stays in Toowoomba early, book your bed plus your dining locations now so you can be guaranteed a spot. There is so much to see and do with all the petals in our parks. Take a road trip around the region, buy a #trEAT or two and help local businesses get back on their feet,” Mayor Antonio said.
Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation Kate Jones said Toowoomba was the place to be in September. “For more than 70 years Queensland’s internationally-recognised Carnival has been built around promoting our natural beauty and colourful blooms each Spring,” Ms Jones said. “This event is vital when it comes to supporting local businesses and local jobs.”
“With our borders now open to most of Australia, we’re urging Aussies to head to Toowoomba this September for a great holiday.”
Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2020 – event highlights
18 to 27 September 2020
See tcof.com.au for more.
Play in the Petals: floral-filled public parks
- Feature Floral Displays at the Botanic Gardens at Queens Park and Laurel Bank Park will feature Alyssum, Antirrhinum (Snapdragon), Bellis, Calendula, Candytuft, Cherianthus, Chrysanthemum, Cineraria, Delphinium, Dianthus, Digitalis (Foxglove), Dutch Iris, Hollyhock, Larkspur, Linaria, Lobelia, Mesembryanthemum, Nemesia, Ornamental Kale, Pansy, Parsley, Petunia, Polyanthus, Poppy, Primula, Ranunculus, Rhodanthes, Schoenia, Statice, Stocks, Sweet Pea, Tulips and Viola. Council gardeners promise a kaleidoscope of colour!
- Twilight Tours of Laurel Bank Park will take place mid-week, hosted by the Toowoomba Regional Council Parks & Recreation team, secure your ticket at www.tcof.com.au
- Both Queens and Laurel Bank Parks will be home to entertainment each weekend in September starring local talent, music makers and storytellers.
- The Night Garden powered by Ergon Energy will be free and unfenced this year at the Botanic Gardens, open for 10 nights from 18 to 27 September.
- An absolute favourite for thousands, the Ferris Wheel at the Botanic Gardens will operate for 10 days from 18 to 27 September, providing the best way to see the splendour of Queens Park!
Grand Central Floral Parade!
Given COVID-19 restrictions, the traditional street parade has been reimagined two ways for 2020. Grand Central shopping centre will be home to the Parade of Colour this September School holidays, a static installation of decorated floats that reflect the incredible community spirit in the city. To celebrate 71 years since the first parade made its way through the city, the Itty-Bitty Grand Central Floral Parade will take place! Featuring miniature floats set to make a big impact, this is a virtual parade screening at 3pm on Saturday 19 September!
New to 2020 is a region-wide food trail called #trEATS aimed at celebrating the amazing array of ‘eats’ available in the Toowoomba Region. Organisers are hoping to showcase more than 60 local flavour-makers, each offering a $20 springtime #trEATs on their menu during September, inspired by the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
- Talking Pubs Tour – hugely popular each year, these tours feature Bar Wunder, Muller Bros, Irish Club Hotel and George Banks rooftop Bistro.
- Foodie Dinner Tour – a modern progressive dinner around Toowoomba, there’s two to choose from this year: Tour 1 goes to the Cobb+Co Museum, Inbound at the Toowoomba historic railway station and Gip’s restaurant while Tour 2 goes to Café Valetta overlooking Queens Park, Charred atop the Toowoomba range and Kingfisher Café.
With a distinct architecture focus in 2020, the Walking Tour program will include:
- Laneways and Street Art Tour
- The Dark Side Walking Tour
- Architecture Styles Tour
- 150 Years of Rail Walk & Talk Tour
Community groups and floral group display events will again enable locals and visitors to choose their own experiences. The full list of community events is available at tcof.com.au
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 October 21, 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