26 August 2020

Floriade may continue to blossom in the burbs, says Barr

| Ian Bushnell
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr with Pink Floyd

Chief Minister Andrew Barr with Pink Floyd the giant Floriade gnome and the Beanies at Woden Town Park. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Floriade may blossom into a Canberra-wide event even without the COVID-19 restrictions that have seen it reimagined on a smaller scale this year due to the ban on large gatherings.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the positive response from the 90 or so community groups that have embraced the suburban plantings at sites across the city meant the government would consider doing it again, depending on the response over the month-long festival which starts on 12 September.

”Depending on what the COVID situation is, it may be that we may need to run an event in this sort of format again, and even if we are able to have larger gatherings, we certainly want to look and see how this goes and what the community reaction is,” Mr Barr said.

”I have to say so far it’s very positive; I would be inclined to do it again.

”The next thing to test is the community reaction to September and October. All things seem to be quite positive, so I can see no reason why we couldn’t do something like this either in place of Commonwealth Park if COVID restrictions are still around in a year, or in addition to, as we look to evolve the event as it heads well into its fourth decade.”

Mr Barr was launching Floriade Reimagined, the scaled-back version of Canberra’s annual spring festival that includes the shows of tulips and annuals at shopping centres and other sites across Canberra, online activities and a limited number of live events.

The program is now live on the Floriade website and includes links to a podcast, gardening and craft activities, the gnome hunt, and the children’s entertainment, including the Beanies who performed at Mondays’ launch.

The trios on-demand videos will teach a love of gardening, crafts, and provide engaging activities that families can do together at home.

Crowd favourites will include four live Let’s Talk sessions featuring local personalities chatting about topics ranging from gardening to food sustainability. The Sunday Sessions at Cockington Green and Lanyon Homestead will entertain the whole family with gnome painting, potting up workshops and live music.

To check out floral displays near you search the interactive Tulip Trail map on the website.

Live events include a one-off ticketed Nightfest on Friday, 2 October.

Mr Barr said the very diverse and dispersed program reflected the times in which we live.

”We hope that once the pandemic is over we can of course return to having major community events and inviting thousands of tourist to the city but that time is not now,” he said.

”So we reimagine Floriade with a very different kind of event for our community but still celebrate spring, emerging from winter hibernation and a wonderful burst of colour it provides, that people will see close to home in suburbs, group and town centres and in Commonwealth Park through September and October.”

The cancellation of the traditional Floriade is forecast to cost the ACT around $35-40 million in tourism revenue.

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