11 June 2021

Bulbs go in as Floriade returns to the park

| Ian Bushnell
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr helps schoolchildren plant bulbs at the Floriade launch. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The return of Floriade to Commonwealth Park this spring will be staged more or less in the same way as in previous years despite the spectre of COVID-19 still casting a shadow over the nation.

Planting of Floriade’s one million blooms is underway in Commonwealth Park and an additional 300,000 bulbs are going into garden beds, barrows and pots across the city as Canberra prepares to welcome back Australia’s biggest floral celebration of spring.

The Future of Flowers is the theme for this year’s event which will run from 11 September until 10 October. It’s tourism potential has been boosted by Jetstar’s announcement of a new Canberra-Brisbane route from 2 September.

After the pandemic led to Floriade in the Park being cancelled last year in favour of community plantings across Canberra, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said at the launch on Thursday that the improved situation and the outdoor nature of the event, where the risk of aerosol transmission is much less, gave the Government confidence to commit to a full program this year.

He said that an event plan would have to be submitted to the Chief Health Officer and it may be that numbers will have to be restricted at peak times.

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The physical layout of the park would be similar to past years but there will probably be some changes to the access and egress points to manage the flow of people based on the health advice.

“We think that by then the vaccination program will have taken another leap forward and a further proportion of Australian population will be vaccinated,” Mr Barr said.

Floriade 2019

Floriade 2019 was a splash of colour and the spring floral festival will be back in Commonwealth Park. Photo: File.

He said the community plantings proved so popular last year that the Government decided to continue the program, adding that the expanded Floriade would broaden the reach of the event and engage the community at the same time.

“It’s a great time to showcase the city – they’ll get the experience in the park as well as around Canberra,” he said.

Mr Barr said the event was one of the premier attractions for the ACT and the return of crowds to Commonwealth Park in 2021 should be a significant boost to the local tourism sector that has been decimated by the pandemic.

In 2019, Floriade attracted a record 507,550 attendees and had an economic impact of $44.7 million with 49.4 per cent of visitors attending the event from interstate or overseas.

In 2021, Floriade Community will extend the Floriade footprint across Canberra by distributing 300,000 bulbs and annuals to 94 schools, community groups and organisations.

Successful applicants for Floriade Community are receiving their bulbs and annuals this week.

Floriade NightFest will also return for four nights from Thursday 30 September to Sunday 3 October, with live entertainment to be announced in the coming months.

To learn more go to floriadeaustralia.com.

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