After months of preparation, Tyler’s oldest and largest annual celebration will begin Thursday morning with the snip of a rose-covered ribbon.
Festival officials, participants and volunteers are expected to be among those who will gather at 10 a.m. at Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive, for the Rose Festival Ribbon-Cutting. The ceremony will usher in four days of events that celebrate Tyler’s rose-growing history and pay homage to the beauty of the flower that symbolizes the city.
“Since its beginning in 1933, the Texas Rose Festival has represented the spirit that brings Tyler together as a community,” Liz Ballard, festival executive director, said in a prepared statement. “Rich in heritage and tradition, the festival offers enchanting ceremonial events ... all amidst a backdrop of brilliant roses as vibrant and colorful as the community they represent.”
Texas Rose Festival Association President Britt Brookshire, Rose Queen Hanna Claire Waits, Rose Duchess Elizabeth Anne Schoenbrun and Duchess of the Rose Growers Alexis Renee Smith are expected to take part in the opening ceremony.
The young women are sophomores in college and will be featured in the Rose Queen’s Coronation, Rose Parade and Queen’s Tea, events that will draw tens of thousands to Tyler this week.
After the opening ceremony, festival participants will go inside for the annual Morning Prayer Service, a quiet time of reflection and acknowledgment of blessings before the hectic events ahead.
Throughout the festival, a display of more than 7,000 fragrant and colorful rose blooms will be on view in the Rose Garden Center. The display will depict this year’s theme, “Portraits of Inspiration.”
The Rose Garden Center also will be the site of the Palette of Roses Art Show and Sale through Saturday. Admission to the show is free.
A highlight of the festival on Friday will be the Rose Queen’s Coronation, the lavish presentation of the Rose Queen’s Court made up of ladies-in-waiting from Tyler families, out-of-town duchesses, escorts and the queen’s young attendants.
Court members will be wearing costumes depicting famous women who have inspired and entertained the world.
“It will all be brought to life through an intriguing story, imaginative script and amazing costumes,” Ballard said. “It is an annual must-see event that inspires visitors of all ages.”
The coronation will end with Brookshire symbolically crowning Waits as the rose queen.
Performances are set for 2 and 7 p.m. at the University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center. A ticket is required for admission and can be bought at texasrosefestival.com or by calling the Cowan Center box office at 903-566-7424.
The Rose Festival Parade and Queen’s Tea will take place on Saturday.
The parade will step off at 9 a.m. at Glenwood and Front streets and end in Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
A show will begin in Rose Stadium at 9 a.m. to entertain audiences until the parade arrives. There is a fee to view the show and parade in the stadium. Tickets can be purchased at the stadium.
The parade will have about 120 units including bands, drill teams, dignitaries, floats, Shriners and street performers.
At the free Queen’s Tea, set from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, the public can enjoy refreshments and greet the Rose Court members in their coronation attire under pavilions in Tyler Rose Garden.
Dozens of vendors will offer goods for sale at the Rose Festival Arts and Crafts Fair 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Bergfeld Park, 1520 S. College Ave. The fair also will have food trucks and activities for children.