IN 1949 locals in Toowoomba harnessed petal power in a bid to boost the town's reputation and economic activity following World War II.
Now more than 70 years on the town is hoping the long-running Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers - one of Queenslands must-visit events - will once again be a shining light for the region, this time post-COVID-19.
Organisers have planted over 170,000 blooms across the city's major parks and public spaces to create a spectacular canvas of colour for the much-needed celebrations in September - one of the state's first major events to be staged post-lockdown.
In a year that has seen a raft of events cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Toowoomba Mayor, Paul Antonio, said this year the carnival was a nod to history.
"The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers was established in 1949 to stimulate the economy after the war, and some 71 years later we see this iconic national event again stepping up to the task of celebrating community spirit, welcoming visitors to the city and flying the flag for our region," he said.
"Toowoomba is primed and ready to showcase it's natural beauty. Nothing can stop the power of the flower and we are inviting people from all over to come and play in the petals this spring."
The 2020 program features over 30 events with 48 local tour departures ready to go. Mr Antonio said all events, experiences and areas will be managed with COVID-19 safe plans in place.
Headlining the festival are the parks and public spaces, including Laurel Bank Park and the Botanic Gardens of Queens Park. Floral displays, music and parkland entertainment, a ferris wheel, food trucks and twilight tours will all take place right across September in the parks.
The Night Garden in the Botanic Gardens will be a free 10-day event. The famous Grand Central Floral Parade will become a static installation of decorated floats throughout Grand Central shopping centre in the heart of the city. A new addition to the 2020 program is the Itty-Bitty Parade, a miniature-sized virtual parade that will air on big screens, websites and social media platforms on September 19.
The program features a new region-wide food trail called #trEATS, as well as the popular Talking Pub and Foodie Dinner Tours, guided and non-guided walking tours, as well as activations at the famous Spring Bluff Railway Station, Cobb + Co Museum and the much-loved floral group displays.
"After a spectacular 70th anniversary event in 2019, we were adamant that COVID-19 was not stopping us," Mr Antonio said.
"While numbers may be down this year due to COVID-19, the 170,000 blooms will still colour the city and are all 100 per cent free to see. We are the garden city, our rich red volcanic soils along the escarpment and our dynamic black soil plains surrounding us are the envy of many green thumbs around the world, so we need to show the world how it's done. This is what makes carnival so special. It's a celebration everyone can take part in and we look forward to welcoming everyone back again this September."
Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, September 18-27, tcof.com.au