In bloomin’ good news, Floriade will make its riotously colourful return to Commonwealth Park this spring to celebrate its 35th year.
Not only will it be a boost of colour not seen in the past two years, it’s also expected to bring a boost to the Territory’s economy with thousands of interstate visitors expected to attend.
Its theme this year will be “Sounds of Spring”.
Visitors will be treated to the sight of more than a million colourful blooms, and a diverse program of music performances is expected to be announced later in the year. Details are yet to be provided.
Last time a full-scale event went ahead in 2019, 507,000 Floriade visitors contributed almost $45 million to the ACT’s economy. This time, it’s hoped the influx of visitors will once again assist local jobs and businesses still recovering from the pandemic.
If all goes well, it will be the first time the event has returned to “normal” after it was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic concerns.
Although the 2020 event was cancelled early in the year, with an announcement made in April before the bulbs had even been planted, the Delta outbreak and the August 2021 lockdown prompted a last minute cancellation last year.
Initially Chief Minister Andrew Barr had hoped the event could go ahead, citing the fact it was a large outdoor event and given it’s held in spring, when the peak respiratory disease season has usually passed.
Unfortunately it was not to be and contingency plans, which had to be developed as early as July last year as COVID-19 outbreaks prompted lockdowns interstate, were put in place.
In the end, in a similar arrangement to 2020, the planter boxes and pots which were expected to feature in the park were distributed around Canberra to accompany the 300,000 bulbs already planted by community groups.
This Floriade Community aspect of the festival, which was first thought up in 2020, will remain, and community groups and organisations are now invited to submit applications to receive their share of the bulbs and annuals to plant in their area.
Local community groups, attractions, sporting clubs, churches, aged care facilities, medical centres and Floriade sponsors are eligible to apply and the only criteria is that, when they are planted, they must be visible to many people.
Planting bulbs around Canberra has been extremely successful in both years. In 2020, what was expected to be 40 sites grew to 130 sites featuring beds, barrows and baskets, set up with the help of 90 community groups.
Applications are open until 5 pm on Monday 9 May and more information can be found online.
An announcement on Nightfest is yet to be made.