The bulbs will be going back to the ‘burbs this year after 2020’s successful reimagined Floriade delivered floral displays across Canberra after the traditional spring celebration in Commonwealth Park was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, more than 300,000 extra bulbs and annuals will be distributed for plantings across Canberra’s suburbs, as well as the traditional million or more to be planted in beds in Commonwealth Park as the annual spring floral festival returns to its home from 11 September to 10 October, 2021.
The return to Commonwealth Park will be a boost to the ACT tourism sector as the event is the Territory’s biggest single attraction, drawing half a million people through the turnstiles in 2019 and injecting almost $45 million into the ACT economy before the pandemic.
The continuing closure of international borders will mean fewer overseas visitors, but resurgent domestic travellers as well as ACT and regional flower lovers are expected to flock to Commonwealth Park.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Floriade’s return to its home in Commonwealth Park would help drive visitation to the city and support local jobs and the economy.
But he said what form the event takes is still to be decided.
“The scale and format of Floriade at Commonwealth Park will be announced in coming months following consultation with the chief health officer to ensure the event is COVID-19-safe,” said Chief Minister Barr.
But the ACT Government is now calling on community groups and organisations to submit applications to be part of the Floriade Community program in 2021.
Local community groups, attractions, sporting clubs, churches, aged care facilities, medical centres and Floriade sponsors are among the groups eligible to apply.
Locations must be visible to a large number of Canberrans who can enjoy the blooms in their day-to-day life, and could include garden beds at local shops, churches or community centres.
Successful applicants will also be eligible for Floriade grants to help activate their plantings and spread the spring festivities across Canberra during Australia’s biggest celebration of spring.
Applications must be submitted by Sunday, 9 May. Head to the Floriade website for more information and to apply.
Last year’s suburban floral displays proved such a hit that there were immediate calls for the government to keep them going.
The program not only brought more colour and joy to sites across the city, but increased Canberrans’ engagement with, and awareness of, Floriade, restoring community ownership and pride in a festival that for some had seemed to have grown away from its roots.
The dispersed event captured the imagination of the community, with the initial 40 sites growing to 130 across Canberra, with participation from 90 community groups.