OUR TIME TO SHINE
Spring is here and with it the launch of festivities for the Garden City’s largest event on the calendar
THE flowers are in bloom, and the Garden City is ready to celebrate the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
Here’s your guide to the festival as we spring into the new season.
When does it begin?
The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is shaking things up for 2021 – instead of running for just 10 days, the festivities will run throughout the whole month of September.
What’s on in the Botanic Gardens?
From today, make sure you check out the Toowoomba Regional Council’s stunning flower displays in the Queens Park Botanic Gardens.
Every year thousands of bulbs sprout, turning the popular park into a sea of colour.
The ferris wheel also returns to the Botanic Gardens from September 17-26 and will be operational from 9am-6pm each of those days.
If you’re chasing some top tunes, there are some key dates to pull up a picnic rug.
Musicians will perform on the following dates:
■ Saturday, September 4: 2-5pm
■ Sunday, September 5: 9.30am-12.30pm and 2-5pm
■ Saturday, September 18: 2-5pm
■ September 19-23: 9.30am-12.30pm and 2-5pm
■ Friday, September 24: 2-5pm
■ Saturday, September 25: 12-1.10pm and 2-5pm
■ Sunday, September 26: 9.30-12.30pm and 2-5pm
If you’re more of a night owl, there is still plenty of fun for you in the park.
Make sure you check out the light installations in the Ergon Energy Night Garden, which runs from 6-8.30pm every night of September. The best part? Entry is free. What’s on in Laurel Bank Park?
Expect plenty of stunning displays just west of the CBD in Laurel Bank Park, one of the centrepieces of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
This park will host music events on the following dates:
■ September 4-5
■ September 11-12
■ September 18-26
Music on each of these dates runs from 9.30am-12.30pm and 2-5pm.
You can also experience the gardens as the sun sets on one of the park’s many twilight tours.
These will run on September 14-16 and September 21-23 from 6.30-7.30pm.
The tours will set you back $5 per person.
Is the Festival of Food and Wine back this year?
It sure is. After Covid forced its cancellation in 2020, one of the most popular events on the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers calendar is back.
Attendees can expect three days of delicious food, top drops and world-class music in Queens Park from Friday, September, 10 to Sunday, September 12.
You can discover how to grill like a pro, take beer appreciation courses and learn how to cook with the freshest local produce.
The festival’s music line-up includes Ball Park Music, Brian Cadd and Russell Morris, The Jensens and more, following some last-minute changes due to border restrictions.
To avoid missing out, make sure you pre-book your tickets.
The event runs on Friday from 3-10pm, Saturday from 10am-10pm and Sunday from 10am-9pm.
Single day tickets will set adults back $60.
It is $135 for a three-day pass.
When can I see The Chronicle Garden Competition entries and winners?
After the competition went virtual in 2020, The Chronicle Garden Competition returns for 2021.
Judging has started this week, and you can expect these stunning gardens to be open for public viewing on September 17-19 and September 24-26.
Addresses for these gardens will be announced on Friday, September 17.
What is happening at Spring Bluff?
Take in railway history and explore the beautiful gardens at the Spring Bluff train station any day in September.
The Jim Miller Big Band will entertain Spring Bluff visitors on Sunday, September 19 from 11.30am-3pm.
If you love fromage, don’t miss the High Cheese event on Saturday, September 4.
Hosted by celebrity chef Alastair McLeod, it runs from either 9.30-11.30am or 2-4pm.
Tickets are $124 and the event is only open to adults aged over 18.
What other public gardens can I visit?
Queens Park and Laurel Bank Park aren’t the only public spaces that are stunning this time of year.
Picnic Point, Peacehaven Botanic Park at Highfields, Boyce Gardens, the Japanese Gardens and the Gumbi Gumbi Gardens are all top notch places to relax and have a picnic.
Make sure you check them out during carnival.
What is happening with the Grand Central Floral Parade?
The Grand Central Floral Parade returns to the streets in 2021.
Thousands of people are again expected to flock to Toowoomba’s CBD to see eclectic floats from city businesses and community groups.
It begins at 10am on Saturday, September 18 at the corner of Hume and Herries Street, weaving through the CBD to Queens Park.
What other entertainment is on in Queens Park?
Sideshow alley will set up in Frogs Hollow from Friday, September 17 to Sunday, September 19.
You can pick up a showbag, dig into some fairy floss or jump on a thrillseeking ride from 5-10pm on Friday, 9am-10pm on Saturday and 10am-9pm on Sunday.
Entry is free, but some rides and activities will require coupons.
Fireworks will also light the night sky from 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday, and 7.30pm on Sunday.
Where can I grab a bite?
If you’re a foodie, there has never been a better time to explore the Garden City.
More than 30 restaurants and cafes have prepared a special meal for carnival, which is priced between $10-20 and only available during September – visit thechronicle.com.au to see the full list.
You can also jump on board the talking pubs tour, which takes you on a tour of the city’s best watering holes, or a series of foodie dinner tours.
What tours can I go on? While you can drive yourself around to Toowoomba’s best public and private gardens, there are also plenty of organised tours.
They run all through September and will set you back anywhere between $30-$200.
Visit tcof.com.au for more information on these tours..