Muma Bwalya in the Botanic Gardens, Queens Park.
Muma Bwalya in the Botanic Gardens, Queens Park. Bev Lacey

All you need to know about 2018 Carnival of Flowers

THIS week, all eyes and ears will be on Toowoomba as we host the most colourful and sweetest smelling event of them all, the 2018 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

The event is famed internationally and last year was named the country's Best Major Festival or Event by the Australian Tourism Awards.

It runs in conjunction with The Chronicle Garden Competition.

The 2018 program features award-winning gardens and parks, internationally acclaimed chefs, prized floral displays, incredible food and wine, park and pub tours and an extraordinary music and entertainment line-up.

Here is what you need to know and for more information about these events and if you'd like to buy tickets visit www.tcof.com.au.

Mayor Paul Antonio (left) and Cr Geoff McDonald show off the trophy from the 2016 Carnival of Flowers winning the Major Festivals and Events category of the 2017 Australian Tourism Awards.
Mayor Paul Antonio (left) and Cr Geoff McDonald show off the trophy from the 2016 Carnival of Flowers winning the Major Festivals and Events category of the 2017 Australian Tourism Awards. Kevin Farmer

The Chronicle Garden Competition

Now entering its 69th year, the highly anticipated competition has drawn a record 114 entrants ready to duke it out for the grand champion spot.

The judges of this year's competition are city judge Bob Tarry, country judge Donna Hay and Clint Kenny is in charge of the schools category.

All residential gardens will be open to the public during the Carnival of Flowers. Entry to the gardens is free.

Award winning garden designer

Multi-award-winning garden designer, author and commentator Jim Fogarty leads the floral line-up.

He will be joined by landscape architect from The Block, Dave Franklin and 2019 Sunshine Coast contestants Norm Hogan and Jess Eva.

Headline chefs

There will be two headline chefs for 2018.

Adam Liaw who is an author, cook, host of Destination Flavour and winner of Masterchef Australia 2010 will be joined by slow food chef Julia Busuttil Nishimura.

Chrissie Hoffman (left) and Jen Cromie explore the Ergon Food and Wine Festival.Ergon Energy Food & Wine Festival. Queens Park.
Chrissie Hoffman (left) and Jen Cromie explore the Ergon Food and Wine Festival.Ergon Energy Food & Wine Festival. Queens Park. Bev Lacey

The Night Garden

A stunning new event for 2018 is The Night Garden powered by Ergon Energy.

Based in Queens Park, The Night Garden is a magical creation featuring floral and lighting displays and experiences, to be held over five nights from September 26 to 30. 

The Chef's Brunch

Another new event is The Chef's Brunch, to be held on Sunday, September 23 with special guest chef Julia Busuttil Nishimura in the leafy gardens and setting of Gip's Restaurant.

Grand Central Floral Parade

The Grand Central Floral Parade will be held on Saturday, September 22 and will be the 69th time this event has been held.

It is expected to attract over 70 floats and more than 100,000 spectators.

Will you attend this year’s Carnival of Flowers?

This poll ended on 24 September 2018.

Current Results

YES

71%

NO

28%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Qantas Gala Dinner

The Qantas Gala Dinner will be held on Thursday, September 20 in Laurel Bank Park under the stars, the perfect beginning for 10 days of celebration.

Heritage Bank Festival of Food and Wine

The Heritage Bank Festival of Food and Wine takes over Queens Park for the opening weekend, from Friday September 21 to Sunday September 23.

It features the world-famous flavours of Southern Queensland Country, as well as cooking demonstrations, chef appearances and gardening program. You can even make your own flower crown.

Australian music royalty will also perform:

  • Friday, September 21 - Ali Barter, Cloud Control and The Living End
  • Saturday, September 22 - The Dusty Springfield Show, Chocolate Starfish and The Church
  • Sunday, September 22 - Kyle Lionhart, Augie March, Swing On This featuring Rob Mills and Ben Mingay and Choirboys
Erin Kehoe-O'Shea and her puppy, Millie. Puppy monument at Picnic Point - Puppy lead the first carnival parade. Announcement of dog friendly events planned for the Carnival of Flowers.
Erin Kehoe-O'Shea and her puppy, Millie. Puppy monument at Picnic Point - Puppy lead the first carnival parade. Announcement of dog friendly events planned for the Carnival of Flowers. Bev Lacey

Petals and Pups

Petals and Pups is the first ever official dog-friendly program, completely dedicated to hounds and their humans.

The pawsome program boasts more than 30 dog-friendly activities, 27 off-leash parks and 20 human-and-hound accommodation stays.

Brain Buzz

In a carnival first, Australian TV science show BrainBuzz will bring their experiments, explosions and excitements to Laurel Bank Park for two free live stage shows on Saturday, September 29. 

Gardens, parks and tours

Residents and visitors can check out the show gardens, amazing parks and public spaces throughout the city with tours being held across the event.

Talking Pubs and Foodie Tours

No visit to Toowoomba is complete without stopping at one of the famous country pubs or taking in some local food experiences.

Paige Tanner, 6 years old from Cunnamulla. Side Show Alley Queens Park.
Paige Tanner, 6 years old from Cunnamulla. Side Show Alley Queens Park. Bev Lacey

Sideshow Alley

Sideshow Alley at Queens Park stars one of Australia's most talented DJs Rodjar, bringing his unique dance-king, house-party sounds to the stage on Friday, September 21.

On Sunday, September 23 country town girl Missy Lancaster will perform.

There are rides, show bags and incredible fireworks.


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