Put the culture in horticulture – our top five at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
This year, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is turning up the heat from September 16–25 for its biggest and bloomin’ best offering yet. The festival will have you feeling like Maria in The Sound of Music when she’s twirling blissfully through the fresh mountain air – wide open spaces, scenery so green that looks like a painting and of course, some excellent tunes. Okay, so there’s no weird gang of kids waiting to serenade you in a mansion but these guys can sure as hell top that – think world-class bands, the best in locally sourced produce and a chance to hone your crafty skills for a start. Assemble the crew, curate a fire springtime playlist and road trip down for our top five picks of the carnival – we promise it’s worth the drive.
Grand Central Floral Parade – Saturday September 17
Is this what you came for? Are you not entertained?! For real through, it would be pretty silly to list all of the amazing things going on at the Carnival of Flowers without making mention of the actual flowers. Whilst the whole festival is very bloom-focused, the Grand Central Floral Parade is where it all comes together in a spectacular mobile display of pure flower power. A crowd of 100,000 people can’t be wrong – they line the streets as performers, carnival characters, incredible inflatables and stilt walkers escort the breathtaking floats on their journey to Queens Park. Pictures don’t do this one justice.
Heritage Bank Live Concert Series – Friday September 16 to Sunday September 18
This one’s a no-brainer – some of Australia’s best and brightest musical stars playing in the picturesque surrounds of Queens Park? Yes please. The line-up is a diverse mix of music industry veterans and hot new acts, featuring the likes of Tim Finn, Montaigne and The Whitlams just to name a few. The concert series spans over three nights of the first weekend, providing the perfect way to round out a day of so many activities. Heck, you can dance off all the amazing food you probably ate!
Beer Buffs / Vino Lovers – Friday September 16 to Sunday September 18
Who doesn’t love a bit of casual day drinking whilst also learning stuff in the process? Beer Buffs will help you sort your pales from your pilsners – get educated in the ways of beer styles, flavours and food matching as well as sampling epic local brews. On another note, if you’ve ever been around people talking about wine and not been able to hold your own, now’s your chance to step it up. Learn to taste and describe wine like a pro at free sessions in the Wine Bar, then wander through the pop-up cellar doors and put your newfound knowledge to the test.
Crafty business – Sunday September 18 and Saturday September 24
Getting hands-on is a huge part of all great festival experiences, with the TCOF offering up a range of crafty and floral-inspired activities. A standout is Petals and Pleats, where the awesome Penelope Bell leads an interactive presentation of fashion and floral illustration with some cheeky Pimms to aid inspiration. Another must-do is the Pop-Up Paint Along, a group session where budding artists can create their own floral masterpiece whilst indulging in high tea and champagne. How divine!
Progressive Food & Wine Tours – Friday September 23 and Saturday September 24
How does traipsing through some of the most historical landmarks in Toowoomba whilst stopping off for amazing eats at each location sound? The second weekend of the carnival sees two separate progressive food and wine tours hit the town – from the heritage listed Empire Theatre to the historic Gips Restaurant, these food trails take it to another level. The food offerings are to the tune of Bunya pork tenderloin, spiced lamb rump, fresh fruit mile feuille, slow roasted local pork belly and pecan and maple syrup pudding. That’s just a small sample of the sumptuous locally sourced fare the chefs will be whipping up.
Feeling inspired? Head to the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers website to purchase tickets and start planning your itinerary.