Toowoomba’s LGBTIQ Community Celebrates At Carnival of Flowers

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers parade

Toowoomba comes alive this weekend with the region’s annual Carnival of Flowers and the local LGBTIQ community are getting ready to celebrate.

For good reason Toowoomba is known as the Garden City and parks and gardens throughout the city will be at their spectacular best for the festival, one of Queensland’s oldest and most cherished festivals.

Flowers are the main attraction, with organisers estimating 176,030 bulbs and seedlings have been lovingly planted for the event.

The Grand Central Floral Parade will be held on Saturday September 22 and this year is themed The Secret Garden.

It will be the 69th time this incredible event has been held and is expected to attract over 70 floats and more than 100,000 spectators.

The very first Grand Central parade many years ago was led by legendary Brisbane showgirl and LGBTIQ community leader Toye de Wilde, then a child star famed for her role in a kid’s show filmed in Toowoomba and broadcast nationwide.

“I tap-danced that entire parade route from start to finish,” she told QNews Magazine this week.

“There was also a bullock team at the beginning of the parade so it was all very Buffalo Bill and Annie Get Your Gun.”

Toye went on to a great career with the Peter Moselle Show and Les Girls among other iconic revues. Toye insists her tap-dancing days are behind her, but parade viewers should look out for a contingent of local drag show performers in this year’s parade.

Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Downlands Art Exhibition, curated by Evan Hollis, opening tonight and running until September 29.

As curator Evan aims for a balance of traditional art, local representation and contemporary visual art trends.

Evan first participated as an exhibitor in 1996 and has been curator since 2006, and the event is eagerly awaited each year by South East Queensland art lovers.

A diverse and welcoming city

At the Carnival of Flowers there’s also plenty of food and wine events, music events, arts events.

And if your dog insists on coming along there’s events designed just for them in the Petals and Pups Intinerary – Cultured Canines, Pampered Pup and Adventure Dog.

If you need any information on the local LGBTIQ scene while you’re in Toowoomba, pop into longtime local Bill Rutkin’s Ali Baba’s Bazaar at 211 Ruthven St or in the evening hours – the local gathering place – the Kusina Asian Grill.

“Modern day Toowoomba is a diverse and welcoming city and the local LGBTIQ community invites members of our community in South East Queensland to come up the hill and take in some of the amazing events on offer during the Carnival of Flowers,” he said.

“Evan Hollis’ exhibition at Downlands is a particular treat which I never miss.”

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will run from September 21 to 30. To see the full program, tour information and accommodation details visit the website or the Facebook page.

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