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The sun is shining the birds are singing and the fresh smells of spring are filling the air.  What better place to get out there and experience the season and everything it has to offer than at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.Hold up, I know what you are thinking, Carnival of Flowers, nothing but gardening and other boring stuff mostly aimed at the grey nomads among us right??  Wrong… Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is more than just a feast for the eyes aimed at the grey nomads, it’s s a week long festival that caters for people of all ages and has so much more than just garden bed after garden bed full of flowers to look at.

The Carnival not only offers amazing displays of flowers, it also boasts a Food and Wine festival, Mini Music Festival, lots and lots of new things to learn about your plants and your gardens, arts and crafts, and they even have fun things for the kids to do including a small carnival and side show alley.  Still don’t believe me……. check out the itinerary below for yourself. To begin with, you’re invited to dine in style at the Festival of Flowers opening night gala dinner with celebrity chef special guest, Anna Gare, in beautiful Lauren Bank Park.This unforgettable degustation dining experience combines the very best of local produce and delicious matching wines.

Looking for something a little different to do on your first date? Why not give one of these Top 7 first date experiences a try.

  1. Ergon Energy Food and Wine Festival – What better way to get to know someone than at a mouth-watering, world-class festival starring incredible food and wine, made with produce grown fresh in Southern Queensland country.  You can even make matching flower crowns to wear as you wander through the feature floral displays.
  2. Beer and BBQ Tastings – If it’s a low key and casual date you want, then look no further!  Check out each other’s tastes at the Beer and BBQ tastings, learn about what beer goes with what foods and all the latest on the world-wide phenomenon “low n slow”
  3. Qantas Link Gala Dinner – If you want a first date experience that is sure to impress, look no further than a five-star experience at the opening night Qantas Link Gala Dinner.  Join Australian Chef Anna Gare for a sumptuous four-course degustation meal made with local produce and matched with wines from neighbouring vineyards.  And the piece de resistance, dinner is held under the stars in the stunning and flower-filled Laurel Bank Park.
  4. Heritage Bank Live Concert Series – Starring some of the best music makers in the country, this is the perfect date experience, and you can check out each other’s dance moves at the same time.  Catch the Temper Trap, The Paper Kites and Alex Lahey on the Friday night.  On Saturday, you can go old-school with The Angels, get your swing on to the Hot Potato Band, or sit back and enjoy The Voices – a collaboration of some of the biggest names in music including Reece Mastin from X Factor, Jason Sing from Taxieride, the Choirboys’ Mark Gable and Dale Ryder from Boom Crash Opera.  On Sunday, you can catch Daryl Braithwaite, Boys in the Band and The Diamonds.
  5.  Sideshow Alley – There’s a scientific study that says moments of increased adrenalin can lead to increased attraction.  Test this theory out for yourself and take your love interest to Sideshow Alley for a non-stop, adrenalin inducing date.  Hold hands on the heart-stopping 360° ride and get an upside-down birds-eye view of Queens Park.  See Dr Joe the scientist conduct some ‘Whizz bang’ experiments and cosy up together during the nightly fireworks display.
  6. Spring Polo – Show off in your weekend finery as you sip champagne and behave like ladies and gentlemen at the Spring Polo.
  7. Talking Pubs Tour – A four-hour progressive flavour tour to four of Toowoomba’s most historic pubs – now this is a date to remember!  It’s first date paradise, filled with brilliant stories, secrets and special pours!

Once you have satisfied your tastes buds, why not head to another amazing sensory overload by taking in the ballet at The Empire Theatre.  La Fille Mal Gardee is set in the French country side in the 1950s, La Fille Mal Gardee delights and entertains audiences as a love triangle creates cosmic chaos.  Lise loves Colas.  Colas loves Lise.  But Lise’s mother, the Widow Simone, has agreed that her wayward daughter should marry Alain, son of a pompous, wealthy vineyard owner.  A popular family favourite because of its engaging story, colourful humour and beautiful dancing, this stunning production will leave you applauding for more.

But enough about the food and beverages on offer, what about the kid’s entertainment or the focus of the entire carnival, the beautiful display of flowers?  Well that is easily fixed…. There are many things on offer for the kids and in fact the entire family to see and do.  From the Grand Central Floral Parade to The Cubby House, Sideshow Alley and Pictures in the Park.  Or why not check out the Carnival of trains and the GEHAM Craft & Garden Show as well as The Fairies and Flowers Fantasy.  Or let the city kids experience a little piece of the country than at the Jondaryan Woolshed Open Day.

And as for the gardening side of things, well let me tell you that there is so much to do and see from the many different floral displays to the Chronical Garden Competition from Laurel Bank Park to Picnic Point, Japanese Garden Ju Raku En and the Harrow Homestead and Garden.  And if it’s a spot of arts and craft you are interested in, why not take a look at the Teapot Extravaganza or A Potter’s Picnic, Popup Paint Along or the old Cobb and Co Museum.  You may even want to consider spending a night or two in town at one of the many quaint little motels or bed and breakfasts.

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is a true feast for the senses and one that is definitely worth the drive.  So, do yourself a favour and check it out this September.

Why not take the guess work out of the process and hire a bus charter to take you to and from the event? That way you can sit back and relax while somebody else negotiates the traffic for you. Oh, and that extra glass of beer or wine you were thinking of having? Go on, have it, it’s your time to enjoy.