February 3, 2019 / By Olivia
Canberra is known for many things, but one it of its most unbelievable highlights is Australia’s biggest spring festival Floriade. This event is without doubt the biggest celebration of the spring season in Australia, and is being held from Saturday the 15th of September to Sunday the 14th of October 2018. During this month-long and now iconic annual Canberra tourism event the focus is on nature. A floral display of more than a million bulbs will come alive across over 8,000 square metres of parkland next to Canberra’s inner Lake Burley Griffin.
But of course, it’s so much more than just a flower festival now. Over the years Floriade has morphed from an event strictly for passionate flower-lovers to a festival that offers something for everyone. There’s now an enormously diverse and constantly expanding program that includes music, cultural celebrations, food and wine, horticultural workshops, markets and traders, arts displays, entertainment, and various recreational activities. And best of all? The festival is totally free to enter.
The Day Events
The day events at Floriade are the picture of variety. There’s the early morning walks with the heart foundation around the blooms, a fashion award ceremony and various yoga sessions including one with your favourite four-legged buddy.
There’s talks, speakers and learning opportunities, ranging from a harmonica workshop with renowned busker Juzzie Smith, to talks by Low Tox Life author Alexx Stuart, and garden expert Angie Thomas. There’s even a talk on keeping your dogs happy!
For the kids there’s the garden-enthusiast performer Dirtgirl, just waiting to entertain, along with a Kidzklub and a wealth of craft workshops. The Rotary Clubs of Canberra and surrounds are hosting daily family-friendly events and educational displays, which also shouldn't be missed.
Music line up
Floriade might be a festival of flowers, but it also lets you dance the day away alongside the blooms. Get ready for belly dancers, big bands, soul collectives, and performers both familiar and excitingly new. There's Emma Pask, Juzzie Smith, Gretta Ziller, Jan Preston, Kim Yang, Sophie Edwards, Tap Kix, The Advocates, The Other Side, and the Twilight Jazz Band all tuning up to fill the air of Floriade with more than spring scents.
And just when you think there couldn’t be more, Floriade hits you with its main event: the flowers. The theme for this year’s festival is Pop Culture, so make sure you bring a camera and a sense of wonder to marvel at the retro inspired flowerbeds and stunning horticultural displays. Whether you’re a green thumb or a budding gardener, it’s enough to inspire you to great things!
The Night Events
As well as a month packed full of great day events, visitors can also experience NightFest. This part of the program is more exclusive, running for just five nights between the 26th of September and the 30th of September. Expect entertainment, plus food and drinks galore, as the flowers light up on those special spring nights. Guests can stroll through the many coloured displays and illuminated wonders including the much anticipated Nautalis Forest light display. There’s entertainment including an open air cinema and a program full of very talented musicians and dancers.
Thursday and Friday are all about the music with performances scheduled from the likes of Moko Juju, Thelma Plum, Lucy Sugerman, Bowie Unzipped and the classic Kate Miller-Heidke. On Saturday it’s time to get your dancing shoes on for Party NightFest, before the whole thing comes to a close with a barrel of laughs on Sunday’s Comedy NightFest with Arj Barker, Akmal Saleh and much much more.
The Floriade NightFest is a ticketed event, with tickets running at $31.70 per night for adults. Children’s tickets, concessions and family tickets are also available on the website, but spaces are limited. Season passes can also be purchased.
So head down to Canberra’s Commonwealth Park anytime from the 15th of September to the 14th of October to see Floriade in all its coloured glory. The festival is open from 9:30am to 5:30pm every day and as you can see there’s loads to do. Fill up on delicious food from a variety of food trucks across the site, and spend your day wandering among the million blooms that herald the arrival of spring in Canberra. Believe me, it’s a sight to behold.
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