FS tourism gears up for Flower Festival

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Free State Department of Tourism’s Kgotso Thole

While the weather remains undecided on whether it’s still winter or spring, flowers in the province on the other hand are in full bloom ahead of the Free State Flower Festival which will be held in Parys later this month.

According to the Free State Department of Tourism’s Kgotso Thole, the department is working on the finishing touches to ensure that this year’s festival is bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event.

“In terms of preparations, we are working on involving the Portuguese community in the province and city to ensure that they are on board. After all, the festival is inspired by the Madeira Flower Festival which is held annually in Portugal,” Thole said.

He further revealed that the department has enlisted the help of various destination marketing operators and the various communities involved in the project so that it spurs on local tourism in the province, particularly in the Lion route, where the festival will be held.

“We have marketed this event as a family event, something for everyone in the family unit and we’re looking to attract Gauteng residents into the province,” Thole said.

He also stated that while there may have been an initial negative reaction towards the event, particularly among business people in Parys who did not understand the significance, the tide is slowly starting to turn.

“People have begun to realise the importance of the event and how beneficial it is to them too and they are becoming more open to the idea, and as a result, excitement is building up. These are the people we are happy to work with. Nonetheless, we still have critics here and there,” Thole concluded.

The Free State Flower Festival will kick-off in Pary’s Bree Street on 24 and 25 November 2017. The festival will include 500 dancers, five massive floats and giant flowers puppets performing around a spectacular flower precinct in a Disney-like flower story. It will be the second time a fully-fledged, massive flower parade takes to the streets, anywhere in South Africa. Entry will be free.

Pulane Choane

pulane@centralmediagroup.co.za