Floriade 2018 opens this Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to flock to the four-hectare site at Commonwealth Park to take part in the largest floral festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
This year’s 30-day festival runs from September 15 to October 14 and promises to take visitors on a trip down memory lane through the theme of Pop Culture.
The free annual spring event is in its 31st year and is a huge drawcard for tourists.
But why should you attend? Haven’t you seen it all before? The RiotACT brings you six reasons not to miss Floriade 2018.
1. Get-togethers among the ‘pop culture’ flowers
Floriade is a great place to take visitors to explore the spectacle of this year’s Pop Culture theme or just delight in seeing one million flowers all in one place. Icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson will come to life in flower form alongside the likes of Grug and Where’s Wally.
Floriade’s also an attractive venue for Canberrans wanting to catch up with friends for a coffee, a picnic or a walk. It all comes with a free view right on your doorstep.
2. High tea and home-grown produce
This year Floriade is partnering with home-grown producers such as award-winning restauranter Pialligo Estate and other local wine and beverage makers to give visitors a taste of what the Canberra region can offer. While the new Pialligo Urban experience in Floriade’s main café will feature high tea and private after-hours event bookings over the course of the event, Wamboin winery Contentious Character, Capital Brewing Co. and Underground Spirits will showcase the region’s growing hospitality reputation.
On top of this, there will be a wide variety of multicultural cuisines available including Italian, Asian, Mexican and more, as well as treats to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. Further information is available via floriadeaustralia.com/event-info/food-and-drink.
3. Jazz in the Park
Every Sunday afternoon during Floriade, visitors can grab a picnic blanket and chill out while listening to local and national jazz bands.
Week one kicks off with performances by Jan Preston, also known as Australia’s Queen of Boogie Piano, and the CBR Big Band. Week two includes headliners Twilight Jazz Band, Juzzie Smith and Gretta Ziller, while week three sees swing and brass bands, Jumptown Swing and the Po Boys taking the stage. Week four finishes on a high with Jan Preston and the headlining act, the uber-talented Emma Pask.
This year, NightFest has a different theme every night and the ticketed after-dark experience runs for five nights in a row, from Wednesday, September 26 until Sunday, September 30 (6:30 pm to 10:30 pm)
As the sun sets on Commonwealth Park, Floriade becomes an illuminated wonderland with visitors able to wander through the mesmerising Nautalis Forest with its spiralling trees that ripple and pulse with colour.
On the Wednesday night, you can grab some popcorn and a blanket as Stage 88 transforms into an open-air cinema showing the ‘80s versions of Ghostbusters and Back to the Future. The festival heats up on Thursday with performances from Lucy Sugerman, Mojo Juju and Thelma Plum, before Bowie Unzipped and Kate Miller-Heidke hit the stage on Friday. Get your dance moves ready for Party NightFest on Saturday night before capping off the week with Akmal Saleh, Arj Barker and more at MA 15+ Comedy NightFest on Sunday. For information or tickets, go here: https://floriadeaustralia.com/nightfest/
5. Indulge your hobby
If your hobby is gardening, cooking, photography, flower arranging, craft, or even nature journaling, then Floriade has your name written all over it.
There are a variety of workshops to enjoy and often great examples on display to follow or pick up tips from. For example, photography lovers can visit a photography workshop or just take advantage of the opportunity to photograph beautiful fields of flowers at different times of the day or night.
A special Floriade feature this year is ‘Workshops at the Greenhouse’ which includes the brand-new Let’s Talk series where experts will talk on a variety of topics from down to earth living and living a ‘low tox life’ to creating a wildlife-friendly Australia. There are also workshops from BathBombs with LUSH, Tulip Mania, Kokedama and much more.
6. Dogs’ Day Out
Always a massive favourite with dog-lovers, this year people will have the opportunity to celebrate their furry four-legged friends with the ultimate Superhero Dogs’ Day Out. Held on the last day of Floriade (October 14), Dogs’ Day Out offers pooch-friendly activities and is billed as a ‘paw-some’ day.
This year’s superhero dress up is likely to turn up some interesting costumes as the pooches explore their special powers. Owners (or slaves) can dress up with their pups to go in the draw to win the Best Dressed Award.
For further information about Floriade 2018, go to www.floriadeaustralia.com.
Are you planning to visit Floriade this year? What is your favourite part of the flower festival? Let us know in the comments below.