Toowoomba is known for two things: as the home of the Lamington, and as the home of the Carnival of Flowers, held every year in spring. By Alex Hargraves 
The two-week event, to be held this year from September 17-26, will bring together the very best of the region’s gardens, events, entertainment and food and wine experiences to aptly showcase all that Toowoomba and its surrounding regions have to offer.

A new addition to this year’s Carnival is the Flower, Food & Wine Festival, which will offer three days of mouth-watering menus from regional restaurants, cafes and food producers

This iconic Queensland floral-inspired festival, now in its 61st year, promises to be bigger and better than ever, with even more events planned, and even more incredible sights, sounds and scents that every Spring turn the city into one big garden party. The city’s three major parks will host daily entertainment by local entertainers, as well as free cinema evenings in Laurel Bank Park.

The Carnival is synonymous with the Chronicle Garden Competition when the city’s gardens, big and small, put on a vibrant display. A variety of competition categories encourage wide community participation.

A lack of rain in the last 12 months has done little to dampen the city’s enthusiasm and competition entrants have repeatedly demonstrated that passion, innovation and water wise gardening principles (including tank and bore water usage) will still equate to brilliant garden displays.

The city plays host to more than 60 other events at this year’s Carnival including the Grand Central Floral Parade, which every year makes its colourful journey through the City’s CBD (Saturday 18 September from 12pm).

A new addition to this year’s Carnival is the Flower, Food & Wine Festival, which will offer three days of mouth-watering menus from regional restaurants, cafes and food producers, wine sampling from regional wineries, artistic displays, exhibitions and floral installations (Friday 17 – Sunday 19 September). There will also be live performances by local and headline acts over the three nights.

Already a prestigious event since its inception in 2005, the annual Floral Design Competition attracts the crème of Australian floral designers and artists and is convened this year by internationally renowned designer Mark Pampling.

For those looking to emulate the work of Toowoomba’s expert green thumbs, there is an event featuring plenty of gardening tips and expert tricks from a host of horticultural identities (to be confirmed in July).

To keep the youngsters happy there will be steam train rides from the Toowoomba CBD to the spectacular gardens of Spring Bluff Station. Other events include a Sideshow Alley full of rides, show bags and entertainment, as well as a fireworks display.

Finally, there will be a series of Twilight Garden tours hosted by Toowoomba Regional Council’s gardeners – the very team behind Carnival’s blooming success!

What // 61st Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
Where // Toowoomba is an hour and a half drive west of Brisbane.
When // September 17-26
Contact // www.tcof.com.au