By CAITLIN CROWLEY

TOOWOOMBA Carnival of Flowers has revealed a petal-packed program for its 73rd year, including several new events to lure city tourists up the range for the celebration of Spring.

The garden city’s signature event will bloom across the entire month of September again this year, after the new format trialled in 2021 proved hugely successful.

There were 155 thousand overnight stays, helping inject $22 million into the local economy – a 123 percent increase on 2020 when the pandemic kept crowds at home.

Tourists soak up the sun at Queens Park.

The biggest change was scheduling the Festival of Food and Wine and the Floral Parade on seperate weekends, which councillor James O’Shea said helped give more people more reasons to come to the region.

“There was a lot of learnings from last year,” Cr O’Shea said.

“The big thing we learnt was that opportunity to attract more people over a longer period of time to our region, and that’s what it’s about.”

“The star attraction is the flowers and they were incredible over the month. Our gardeners did an amazing job to keep the flowers up to the standard they were for 30 days.”

Toowoomba gardens in full bloom in 2021.

Mayor Paul Antonio said he had no doubt visitor numbers would increase again this year, particularly with interstate and international tourists on the move.

“There is no other place in Australia that can do what we do in September,” Cr Antonio said.

“As I interact with the mayors west of here, they’ve never had an experience like they’re having now with people coming to their town, so why wouldn’t you come to Toowoomba for our special month?”

Gardeners time Carnival blooms to perfection.
Last year’s Grand Central Floral Parade.

This will be the 28th year Grand Central has sponsored the floral parade, revealing the all important theme today – ‘Reflect, Connect and Sparkle’.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the community interpretation of that,” said Grand Central manager Claire Torkington.

Popular events from last year including regional food trail #trEATS, the Night Garden experience and Cinema Under the Stars will return, alongside new offerings aimed to tap into key tourist markets.

Foodies can savour two progressive dinners to be held across three different restaurants, as well as cocktails at Spring Bluff, at the new Tipsy High Tea.

There will also be a Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Picnic Point for the young and young at heart.

To check out the full program, head to tcof.com.au.

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