Another year, another Floriade. More than 427,000 people walked through the sea of flowers at Commonwealth Park this year, despite the puddles, putting 2022 in the top 10 for attendance across the event’s 35-year history.
Australia’s biggest celebration of spring ran from 17 September and finished with a ‘Dog’s Day Out’ on 16 October. Up to 5000 people – armed with trowels and pink bags – returned on Monday to salvage what they could during the ‘Great Bulb Dig’.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said this year’s theme – Sounds of Spring – saw visitors from around Australia and overseas “enjoy over a million blooms set amongst music, entertainment and horticultural installations”.
“NightFest delivered a full program, including free massages and chilled-out music on the ‘Unwind’ nights, and acts by Muesli, 19-Twenty, Super Massive and Los Chavos on the ‘Invigorate’ nights.”
There were hopes that after two years spent scattered about the suburbs, Floriade 2022 would topple the previous attendance record of 507,550 visitors in 2019. ACT Events executive branch manager Ross Triffitt said it was well on its way until the heavens opened.
“We’re very happy with the result, all things considered,” he said.
“To have a top-10 figure is still a good result, particularly considering 19 days of rain out of 30.”
Ross said ACT Events are still going through community feedback, but it looks like the ‘Floriade Art Community’ is here to stay. Up to 111 different community groups across Canberra put their hand up to receive a portion of 300,000 flowers for display at their venues and events.
“It’s one of the good things that has come out of the pandemic – spreading the flowers around the city. It’s certainly something we want to continue.”
Floriade also brought together all manner of products from the region, including Canberra District Wines, Capital Brewing Co. and Agostinis, who joined this year’s range of local food vendors and market stalls.
While there might have been fewer people, sales figures from vendors suggest visitors were spending more money.
“The two-year hiatus meant that in the first two weeks, we had really good expenditure levels. Looking at some of the sales figures we have so far, they’ve been well in excess of those in 2019,” Ross said.
Capital Brewing Co has been a mainstay at Floriade for years. Emily Aboud helped run the stall for the first time this year and says the rain was a “big downer”, but when the sun was out, “it was a great day out for everyone”.
“It was lovely to have Floriade back and the Canberra community appreciated that as well,” she said.
“It wasn’t as busy as 2019, but we still made plenty of sales, especially over Nightfest.”
Preparations are already underway for Floriade 2023, which will return to Commonwealth Park from Saturday, 16 September to Sunday, 15 October 2023. Its theme, ‘Floral Wonderland’, is said to “create a sense of wonder and enchantment through an immersive experience”.
“We hope for better weather and a new attendance record,” Mr Barr said.