Floriade is a flower and entertainment festival held annually in Canberra's Commonwealth Park featuring extensive displays of flowering bulbs with integrated sculptures and other artistic features. The festival attracts tourists from around Australia and overseas in spring from mid September to mid October each year, and is considered the most important regular event for tourism in the Australian Capital Territory. It is also called "Australia's Celebration of Spring". After some controversy regarding an entry charge, admission to Floriade has been free for a number of years.
Floriade started in 1988
as a one off celebration of Canberra's 75th birthday and Australia
's bicentenary of European settlement. Due to the success and popularity of the event, it has run every year since then with each year having a new theme and is currently the largest flower festival in the Southern hemisphere
with over 300,000 visitors each year.
In September 2005 ACT tourism authorities considered legal action over a trademark violation with Hunter Valley Gardens in New South Wales who had renamed their annual floral festival to Floriade Hunter Valley Gardens. The term Floriade was replaced with Festival of Flowers in 2006.
Floriade is located in Commonwealth Park, Canberra and this year (2008) it is running from the 13th of September to the 12th of October.
Public art and Culture
Floriade gives great expression to public art, each year commissioning works which are placed in the Floriade gardens. Some remain beyond the festival. Floride also showcases musical displays with many live performances, cultural celebrations, artistic displays, entertainment and recreational activities.
Floriade has also held a gnome decorating competition and display for several years, with strong participation from schools, aged people's homes, and businesses. The 2005 theme of Rock 'n Roll only accentuated the regular theme of decorating gnomes as the members of bands. Examples shown below are the Australian children's entertainers, The Wiggles, in this case renamed The Gniggles, and the crowd favorite, KISS submitted by Weetangera Primary School.
- 1988 Floriade (no theme)
- 1989 Floriade (no theme)
- 1990 Floral garlands, champagne bubbles and floral river
- 1991 Music
- 1992 The art of horticulture
- 1993 Kites, colour and movement
- 1994 Reflections
- 1995 Carnival of cultures
- 1996 Floriade celebrates the arts
- 1997 Colour by day and night
- 1998 Gardens and gourmets
- 1999 Magic of the gardens
- 2000 Games in the garden
- 2001 The Century in bloom (Celebrating Centenary of Federation)
- 2002 Poetry in flowers
- 2003 The heavens in bloom
- 2004 The wonder of water
- 2005 Rock 'n' roll in bloom
- 2006 Carnivale - The World on Show
- 2007 Aussie icons, myths and legends
- 2008 Films that shaped the nation