Surround yourself with the enchanting beauty of nature, experience a kaleidoscopic of colours and enjoy an array of fresh Spring scents with the much-anticipated Free State Flower Festival.
Are you a vivacious and artistic Strelizia? An insightful and secretive Arum Lilly? An open and warm Sun Flower? Or a successful and established King Protea? Whatever your personality type The Free State Flower Festival has a bloom for everyone.
More than just a great outdoor adventure the Free State Flower Festival taking place on November 11 and 12 sees the vibrant town of Parys come into blossom, attracting tourists and locals alike to enjoy Mother Nature at her grandest and an array of exciting entertainment and activities. Some of the major attractions include 600 performers, five massive floats, giant flowers and fireworks, alongside an amazing floral storytelling precinct.
Those with a love for flowers will bloom at the Flower Forum – a gathering of leading local and international experts from the flower industry; incorporating presentations on local, national and world trends. Attendees and speakers will include botanists, floriculturists, horticulturists, farmers, retailers and wholesalers. A key theme of the Forum will be the unlocking of flower export opportunities.
Another highlight is the Flower Parade, which promises to be a showstopper on its own. A mesmerising sea of flowers , this tourism highlight event will be an extravaganza of colour, featuring some 600 choreographed performers, adorned in flowers and magnificent floral outfits. Participants, many of whom will be children, will parade in one choreographed movement, through the main tourism street of Parys. They will be on float processions, in dance groups or featured in spectacular floral displays.
In the Flower Precinct – an area where several floral exhibits will be located – you’ll find regional exhibitors, wholesalers, retailers and food and beverage providers. Various activities and fun-themed events will be staged over the two day Festival and will provide entertainment for the entire family. The highlight of the Precinct will be the staging of a nighttime theatrical performance, “The Gathering of the Flowers”. Featuring giant luminous flowers, the show is narrated by renowned Gcina Mhlope. The story sees the coming together of a variety of flowers to fight the drought afflicting the land. Described as a spectacular, it also features magnificent costume design and lighting and original music by Themi Venturas, Tiki Nxumalo, Mamikey and Dawn Selby. The Precinct will also include a variety of other activities including kiddies activities, drum circles, marimba and steel drum bands, cultural performances, flower decorative sessions and a Miss Flower Festival contest.
The Free State Flower Festival is a joint venture between the Free State and the government of Madeira, who host the world’s largest flower festival on the Portuguese island every April.
“This event is the brainchild of Free State Premier, Ace Magashule and Madeira President Alberto Joao Jardim and follows a trade visit to the Portuguese island in March this year,” says Free State Tourism Authority CEO, Dhilosen Pillay. “The event has both trade and tourism benefits. The main objective of the Festival will be to stimulate the flower industry in the province and to fast track opportunities around export. As a tourism authority, we will also use the event to stimulate tourism to the region and draw in thousands of visitors from Gauteng and surrounding provinces to the event.” Pillay said the bulk of African flower exports into Europe currently emanated from Kenya and it is hoped that through the Madeiran link, the event will unlock critical opportunities for South African growers.