With less than a day to go, people are anxiously awaiting the annual Mangaung Rose Festival, which will be held by Urth Garden and the City of Mangaung.
The event promises a wide spectrum of exciting activities that will take place for all age groups to take part in. Executive Mayor of Mangaung Metro, Olly Mlamleli, said she cannot wait to see the floral arrangements and the roses in their sorts and to experience the festive feeling the parade will bring into the city.
Mlamleli reminisced on how she used to enjoy the Rose Festival as a young woman who had recently moved into the city but over the years, both the size of the festival as well as its relevance decreased. “I do not understand why this happened. Considering that the festival has been around since 1962, it should have been the province’s biggest festival by now, but that is what we will henceforth be working on,” Mlamleli said.
Working with Risna Opperman of Urth Garden Centre, Mlamleli said she aims to make the festival larger every year until it enjoys the same prestige as popular festivals like Macufe does. She hopes through the festival, planters in the city, artists, food vendors and the different types of business persons will use this opportunity to benefit financially from it.
“Those with art, bead work, food and other items on sale may go to the exhibitions to display their products,” she said. She also added that she is looking forward to proposals from those requesting land to plant roses for future rose festivals and further encouraged even ordinary citizens to plant these flowers in their gardens. She also said that she hopes the festival will serve as a unifying agent as many people in the city love roses, regardless of their status, colour and creed.
“As we have also been preparing our own garden at the Bram Fischer building, we will be planting roses at the city garden as a sign of peace and goodwill, despite recent tension that led to the burning of the hall. In doing so, we are symbolically saying that the spirit in Mangaung must be planted, nurtured and taken care of by all parties so this atrocity never happens again in our city,” Mlamleli said.
According to Opperman the festival, which will begin on Friday 20 October, will kick off with the Rose Festival Street Parade that will start at Hoffman Square in the Bloemfontein city centre and proceed to the recently torched City Hall at 08:00.
“On Saturday, there will also be a continuation of the rose market, which will end at 16:00, while other events will be the Art and Flower Exhibition, which will be hosted at the Urth Garden Centre from 14:00 and will run until Sunday at 14:00.”
She also revealed that on Saterday, people will be able to join the High Tea with popular chef, Mynhardt Joubert. Tickets cost R200 per person and are available from the Urth Garden Centre.
“Several pageants will also form part of the festival, such as the Miss Rosebud and Miss Rose Petal. Also, winners of the Miss Bloemfontein Rose and Oupa and Ouma Rose will form part of the street parade,” Opperman concluded.