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Sunday World - - Hola Mzansi -

Are you a vi­va­cious and artis­tic Stre­lizia? An in­sight­ful and se­cre­tive Arum Lilly? An open and warm Sun­flower? Or a suc­cess­ful and es­tab­lished King Protea? What­ever your per­son­al­ity type The Free State Flower Fes­ti­val has a bloom for ev­ery­one. More than just a great out­door ad­ven­ture, the fes­ti­val tak­ing place on Novem­ber 11 and 12 sees the vi­brant town of Parys buzz with ac­tiv­ity as tourists and lo­cals en­joy Mother Na­ture at her grand­est and an ar­ray of ex­cit­ing en­ter­tain­ment and ac­tiv­i­ties. Some of the ma­jor at­trac­tions in­clude 600 per­form­ers, five mas­sive floats, gi­ant flow­ers and fire­works, along­side an amaz­ing flo­ral sto­ry­telling precinct. The Flower Fo­rum, a gath­er­ing of lead­ing lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional ex­perts from the flower in­dus­try, will be the meet­ing place for true flower lovers. At­ten­dees and speak­ers will in­clude botanists, flori­cul­tur­ists, hor­ti­cul­tur­ists, farm­ers, re­tail­ers and whole­salers. A key theme of the Fo­rum will be the un­lock­ing of flower ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties. An­other high­light is the Flower Pa­rade, which prom­ises to be a show­stop­per on its own. A mes­meris­ing sea of flow­ers, this tourism high­light event will be an ex­trav­a­ganza of colour, fea­tur­ing some 600 chore­ographed per­form­ers, adorned in flow­ers and mag­nif­i­cent flo­ral out­fits. Par­tic­i­pants, many of whom will be chil­dren, will pa­rade in one chore­ographed move­ment, through the main tourism street of Parys. They will be on float pro­ces­sions, in dance groups or fea­tured in spec­tac­u­lar flo­ral dis­plays. In the Flower Precinct an area – where sev­eral flo­ral ex­hibits will be lo­cated you ll find re­gional – ’ ex­hibitors, whole­salers, re­tail­ers and food and bev­er­age providers. Var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties and fun-themed events will be staged over the two day Fes­ti­val and will pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment for the en­tire fam­ily. The high­light of the precinct will be the stag­ing of a night-time the­atri­cal per­for­mance, The “Gath­er­ing of the Flow­ers ”. Fea­tur­ing gi­ant lu­mi­nous flow­ers, the show is nar­rated by renowned Gcina Mh­lope. The story sees the com­ing to­gether of a va­ri­ety of flow­ers to fight the drought af­flict­ing the land. De­scribed as a spec­tac­u­lar, it also fea­tures mag­nif­i­cent cos­tume de­sign and light­ing and orig­i­nal music by Themi Ven­turas, Tiki Nxumalo, Mamikey and Dawn Selby. The precinct will also in­clude a va­ri­ety of other ac­ti­va­tions in­clud­ing kid­dies ac­tiv­i­ties, marimba and steel drum bands, cul­tural per­for­mances, flower dec­o­ra­tive ses­sions and Miss Flower Fes­ti­val. The Free State Flower Fes­ti­val is a joint ven­ture be­tween the Free State and the gov­ern­ment of Madeira, which hosts the world s largest flower fes­ti­val ’ on the Por­tuguese is­land ev­ery April. This event is the brain­child of Free “State premier Ace Ma­gashule and Madeira pres­i­dent Al­berto Joao Jardim. It fol­lows a trade visit to the Por­tuguese is­land in March,” says Dhilosen Pil­lay, CEO of the Free State Tourism Author­ity.

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