COVID-19 format blueprint for change for Australia’s leading event
Proof that there’s a silver lining to everything, the multi-award-winning Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers (TCOF) received recommendation from Toowoomba Regional Council’s Environment and Community Services committee meeting this week, that in 2021, the 10-day celebration will be extended throughout all of September, following the success achieved this year under COVID-19 restrictions.
TCOF 2020 was the first free, unfenced, outdoor, major tourism event in Australia to be delivered during COVID-19 restrictions, and saw more than 200,000 visitors from all over Queensland celebrate a joyous and petal-filled experience.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio gave his support towards the dates being changed from the usual 10-day format, to run from September 1 to 30 in 2021.
“This year, COVID-19 restrictions allowed the TCOF team to bring forward the event’s five-year Strategic Plan milestones and trial activations across all weekends in September, which reflected stronger attendance numbers than in past years, across the weekends directly before and after our traditional 10-day program. We did this to ensure the safety and comfort of visitors and to allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy the 170,000 blooms across the city, while also generating extended activity for local businesses, which is a key aim of the event,” he said.
“As a result, in 2021 TCOF will activate across the four weekends in September to spread the crowds and economic impact and allow for greater visitation, business connections and community engagement. Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers just bloomed in the most wonderful way in a year no-one thought possible!”
The Botanic Gardens in Queens Park welcomed 116,039 visitors across the official 10-day program this year, and Laurel Bank Park received 81,688 visitors. In addition, 36 eateries from across the region took part in the inaugural #trEATS regional food trail which operated all month.
Chair of the Toowoomba Regional Council Environment and Community Services Committee Cr James O’Shea said the COVID-19 format of TCOF had become the blueprint for change in 2021.
“2021 will see the roll out of a new format for the event with a focus on each weekend in September instead of the traditional 10-day program,” he said.
“At this stage, the first weekend in September will celebrate Spring with the launch of tours, parkland entertainment, the Night Garden and #trEATS, the regional food trail and these will remain active all month. The second weekend will focus on food and will see the return of the much-loved and ticketed event, the Festival of Food & Wine in Queens Park.
“As school holidays kick off, family will be the focus of the third weekend with the Floral Parade and sideshow alley major features, while the final weekend in September will be all about colour – on pathways, in flower beds, in businesses and more. Of course, visitors will be welcomed during weekdays with our parks and gardens, the #trEATS program and more happening all month.”
So, mark it in your diaries now – Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers September 2021!
The Environment and Community Services committee recommendation will go before the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 15 December 2020 for endorsement.
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