Great music, unique food opportunities and – of course – beautiful roses are all waiting for you in Thomasville, Georgia as the 98th Annual Rose Show and Festival kicks off April 25-27, 2019. According to event organizers, whether you are looking for cool new experiences or traditional favorites, the festival is sure to deliver.
“When you have a festival that is nearly one hundred years old, it is very important to look for ways to innovate the time-honored traditions that generation after generation have come to know and love,” said Sarah Baggett, City of Thomasville marketing manager. “Thomasville is in full bloom right now, so it is a perfect time to come spend a fun weekend with us.”
One exciting new addition is a celebration of the flower of the hour, with a twist. Roses in Restaurants invites festival-goers to wander through the award winning downtown while popping in and out of restaurants, wine tasting rooms and lounges, all while enjoying the unique opportunity to learn the answer to the question, “What exactly does a rose taste like?” The creative downtown chefs and barkeeps have challenged themselves, infusing roses, rose essence, rose color, and rose petals into anything from an original cocktail shaken right in front of your eyes to a homemade Mexican flan.
“Visitors come from all over the southeast to enjoy the Rose Show and Festival, so expect the downtown area to be bustling,” says April Norton, City of Thomasville main street and business development director. “The culinary experience in Thomasville has gained a prestigious reputation, so it seemed only natural to bring that innovative spirit to the Rose Festival so that we can give our guests a unique experience that you just can’t find anywhere else.”
The Thomasville Police Department will hold their annual inspection and review in downtown Thomasville on Tuesday, April 23rd at 6:30 p.m. This is an impressive review of TPD and will include a community meet-and-greet with officers once the review is completed.
Festivities officially kick off on Thursday with the first of two parades, this one geared to Thomasville’s youngest citizens. The children’s Rose Bud Parade features student groups, families, and friends getting into the rose-y spirit of the festival. On Friday, the Rose Parade will travel down the historic bricks of Broad Street of downtown Thomasville, with beautifully designed floats displaying this year’s parade theme of Roses in Rhythm. “The Rose Parade is one of a kind,” says Bonnie Hayes, City of Thomasville tourism director. “It is known throughout the southeast for its creative themes and upbeat personality. The Rose Parade is a true celebration of all things Thomasville.”
Roses will again take center stage in the Rose Show, which offers a stunning display of literally hundreds of hand-cut roses, each one more perfect than the one before. “This is the one event where the Queen trumps the King when it comes to awards, with the Queen rose proudly displayed at the tent’s entrance,” said Baggett. “The jam-packed weekend offers even more beautiful blooms on display at two additional flower shows, the Standard Flower Show and the Civic Garden Show.” The Thomasville Garden Clubs, hosts of the Standard Flower Show, will honor this year’s theme, Our Georgia, with crowd pleasing arrangements and stunning florals that you won’t want to miss. The Civic Garden Club will offer unique arrangements, table settings, and floral display ideas, all from beautiful Paradise Park.
“The women and men who make up this club put their hearts into everything they do, and you can see that through their unique floral presentation,” said Baggett. “While you’re in Paradise Park, be sure to walk through Art in the Park, which will feature the wares of local artisan, handmade crafts, and food to please every palate.” In addition, Art in the Park also features free crafts for children, face painting, and fun photo ops with superhero llamas and magical unicorns. Superhero llamas and unicorns- what’s not to love?
A free trolley service will be running all day Saturday to take guests from Paradise Park to downtown. For the hotrod lover, Hayes says to catch the trolley back downtown to the historic courthouse. The Southeast’s largest car and truck show is held up and down both sides of the street. If your love of blooms includes the more exotic, be sure to check out Orchids on Parade in the Municipal Building downtown on Saturday.
If music is your passion, Baggett says that there is not one, not two, but three opportunities to enjoy the festival while tapping your feet to the beat. “Immediately after the Rose Parade ends on Friday evening, the street dance will kick off with the ever energetic, never-say-die Swingin’ Medallions, live on the outdoor stage,” she said. “This fun outdoor concert has become a favorite of locals who come out to enjoy a full night of festivities, complete with a beautiful fireworks display over historic downtown Thomasville, which truly caps the evening off with style.”
Want to enjoy the sounds of blues music coupled with a delicious gumbo? Saturday afternoon’s Art in the Park is tailor-made just for you, where the delicious aromas and soulful music will whet your appetite. “We’ll have the always entertaining Sauce Boss performing on the stage in Paradise Park, surrounded by the impressive offerings of local artisans. “You can even enjoy an art walk connecting beautiful Paradise Park to downtown Thomasville, making the short walk between the two just a little sweeter,” said Baggett.
The final musical event of this year’s festival is another new feature. “We are so excited to host the Rose Fest Finale Saturday evening from 6-10 pm,” said Norton. “You can grab a beer or wine from any of the participating downtown restaurants and stroll the bricks while enjoying music and art throughout the downtown before heading to The Ritz Amphitheater for a free concert featuring Trae Pierce and the T-Stones from 8-10 pm.” The Ritz will also feature food trucks and live mural painting, plus a few more fun surprises. “The Rose Fest Finale is the perfect way to end the 98th Annual Rose Show and Festival,” says Baggett. “The Ritz is tucked in the heart of the historic Bottom district of downtown Thomasville and is a prime example Thomasville’s history and future coming together to create lasting memories.”
Hayes said that there are plenty of other fun things to see and do in Thomasville during the festival, including fascinating tours at historic Pebble Hill Plantation, the Lapham Patterson House, the Thomasville History Center, and the Jack Hadley Black History Museum. “And what’s a trip to Thomasville without seeing the famous Thomasville Rose Garden with its 1500+ rose bushes?” she said. “It’s a flower wonderland and absolutely free to enjoy.”
Admission to the 98th Annual Rose Show and Festival is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Thomasville Visitor’s Center at 229-228-7977, visit www.thomasvillega.com or download the Visit Thomasville GA! app in the app store.