IN his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, David Ellis says a record over-38,000 people flocked to this year’s NSW Southern Highlands Tulip Time Festival… almost four times the population of the little town of Bowral in which the annual event has been held every Spring for 55 years.
And they spent a whopping $7m-plus in Bowral and the Highlands’ other major centres of Mittagong and Moss Vale and surrounding historic villages – making the fortnight-long Festival now the biggest event in regional NSW south of Sydney.
Centre-piece was Bowral’s Corbett Gardens with an extraordinary 100,000 tulips and 20,000 flowering annuals, while many public parks throughout the Highlands were also ablaze with colourful flowering bulbs and annuals, and numerous private gardens – some on acreages surrounding grand mansions – also open to visitors.
Event Co-Ordinator with Destination Southern Highlands, Debbie Pearce credited the success of this year’s Tulip Time to an expanded range of events and activities alongside the actual garden displays. These included musical performances across both weekends of the Festival, the always-popular Tulip Time Street Parade, an open-air Cinema@Sunset, a Music in the Gardens evening, children’s pantomime, a bar with local cheeses, wines and cider, street markets, and an exceptionally popular Dogs Day Out.
“And the introduction of easily-identified volunteer ‘Greeters’ at Corbett Gardens this year to assist visitors with local information and directions, enhanced the overall visitor experience,” Ms Pearce said.
Next year’s Southern Highlands Tulip Time Festival will be held in Bowral from September 13 to 25 2016.