Bloomin’ BIG BOOST
Garden City cultivates million dollar economic injection as thousands turn out for food, wine and music in the park
CROWDS flocked from across Toowoomba and southeast Queensland for the weekend’s Festival of Food and Wine in a multimillion dollar economic boost to the region.
FOR best friends Shae Holman and Monique Walsh, there was no better place to celebrate their 25th birthdays than the Festival of Food and Wine.
One of the main attractions of the region’s Carnival of Flowers, Queens Park was packed with people from Friday to Sunday to take in the atmosphere and live music on offer.
Ms Holman and Ms Walsh said this was their first time at the Festival of Food and Wine and was also a reunion after Ms Holman recently moved to the region from Brisbane to live with her cotton-farmer boyfriend on his Jondaryan property.
“We’ve heard a lot about the Carnival of Flowers and it’s always been something we’ve wanted to come to and this year was the perfect time,” Ms Holman said.
“It’s such a wonderful environment and everyone is having a great time which is awesome after going through (Covid) lockdowns and things like that.”
Toowoomba locals Arielle Werth and Emily Pinkney missed out on the chance to attend their first Festival of Food and Wine last year, after it was cancelled as a result of Covid restrictions.
This year however they were making up for lost time.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to attend and it’s been great,” Ms Werth said.
“The way the whole space is set up you’re not too far away from anything and the music has been great so this definitely won’t be the last one we come to.”
With Saturday hitting capacity crowds of 8000 people, and strong numbers attending on both Friday and Sunday, Toowoomba Regional Council Environment and Community Committee chair James O’Shea said the Festival of Food and Wine was a popular event.
“It’s really good to have people back celebrating the festival after it had to be rested last year due to Covid,” he said.
“It’s wonderful to have it back and to have a sellout crowd on Saturday shows that it’s an event that people love and want to be a part of.”
Mr O’Shea said this year’s event was the first time the festival had been held as a stand-alone event.
“All indications are that it was a wonderful success,” he said.
“Having an all-Queensland music line-up was also a huge drawcard and the acts that performed were worldclass.
“People obviously enjoyed the entertainment, and having 16 different wineries and 25 different stalls was also something that was well received.”
With the Carnival of Flowers traditionally held over a 10-day period, Mr O’Shea said having a more spread out carnival with events over a longer period helped allow more people to experience what the carnival has to offer.
“Spring is a good time to visit, the gardens look great and it always gets people here,” he said.
“We’ve still got the September school holidays to look forward to and more events with the Carnival of Flowers so it’s going to be a busy month.”