Big & beautiful
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Floriade started in 1988 as a massive one-off display of bulbs and annuals – flowers that are suited to Canberra’s extreme temperatures. It’s now the largest flower festival in the southern hemisphere.
Art and about
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Local and international artists will exhibit sculptures during Floriade, thanks to a collaboration with culture agency artsACT. Pictured: In Plain Sight (2016) by Katy Mutton.
Amazing by design
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Twenty gardeners plant more than a million bulbs over several weeks in a four-hectare area.
A popular event
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Conceived by horticulturalist Peter Sutton and landscape gardener Chris Slotemaker De Bruine, Floriade was intended to be a one-off event to celebrate the country’s bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th birthday but its massive success has meant that it has continued every year since.
Light & sound
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Over two weekends, the Floriade will also be open after dark for NightFest, a ticketed event that showcases the beauty of the blooms under thousands of multicoloured lights. Image credit: Tim Hughes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
More to do
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Adults can take part in photography workshops that make the most of the photogenic floral displays, cooking classes centred on spring produce, flower-arranging courses and talks on scents and flowers.
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As well as illuminated light displays, NightFest has lined up plenty of entertainment – including stand-up comedy, music and circus acts – and food and drink under the stars at The Tasting Plate. Image credit: Pursued by Bear (CC BY-NC 2.0)
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As well as the floral displays, there are musical shows, roving performers, artworks, rides and other activities planned for the four weeks of the festival.
Just for kids
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Some of the activities geared towards children during Floriade include circus workshops, adopting a worm, pop-up reptile displays and gnome painting at Gnome Knoll.
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The rides are also a big part of Floriade and amusements include a giant slide and jumping castle. The Ferris wheel provides fantastic views from 35 metres above the flowerbeds.
Can’t miss it
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Every spring the festival takes place in the scenic grounds in Commonwealth Park, on the northern side of Lake Burley Griffin, about five minutes from the CBD. Image credit: NJCull (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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Promotional posters highlight past festival themes, which have included “Reflection”, “Carnival of Cultures”, “Imagination”, “The Heavens in Bloom” and “Poetry in Flowers”.
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This year, a twilight concert will take place before opening day, giving attendees a sneak peak of Floriade and featuring performances by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and David Bowie tribute act The Ziggy Band.
A fresh start
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Every year, a theme dictates the flowerbeds’ design. In 2017, the 30th year of Floriade, the theme is “Rejuvenate”. The festival kicks off on Saturday 16 September and runs for a month through to Sunday 15 October.