By Lewis Haskew
It’s Australia’s largest celebration of spring, the annual Floraide Flower Festival. The biggest festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere made its return this year for a month of flowers, performances and family fun at Commonwealth Park in Canberra.
Now in its 29th year the festival has been faced with uncertainty going forward as well as some negative reviews from the media, the community and visitors alike.
The ACT Governments current contract with the National Capital Authority (NCA) which agrees to the use of the parklands for the festival expiries with the end of this year’s event. Negotiations over the use of the park are continuing between the Government and the NCA. This has created uncertainty among the community over the possible downgrading of the event or the loss of the event all together. The Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, has publicly announced that the government is considering possible alternatives for the festival going forward but remains hopeful of the event returning to its current location in 2017.
The wet weather during this year’s Floriade has also been to blame for the poor reception by some to the festival this year. Even forcing the festival to shut its gates to the public for two days, including during the highly anticipated Nightfest event.
Despite all of this, stall holders, volunteers, many visitors and the festival itself are still labeling this years event as a success.