Parys Flower Festival 2019

The Parys Flower Festival 2019 also known as the Free State Madeira Flower Festival will be hosted in Parys on the 30th November.

Flower lovers, media, tourists and visitors are expected to flock to the picturesque town of Parys for the 4th annual Flower Festival. The streets will be bursting with colour as five brightly coloured flower floats and more than five-hundred dancers take to the town’s main road in this year’s festival.

What takes place during the Free State Madeira Flower Festival in Parys?

The Parys Flower Festival labelled as ” a world-class floral extravaganza” is a weekend filled with fun and entertainment. The parade will consist of five large flower floats containing an estimated 200 000 flowers. Accompanied by 500 choreographed dancers in brightly coloured floral clothing and dresses. Also giant puppets, stilt-walkers, handicapped marchers from Epilepsy SA Free State, bikers, vintage cars and many other performers. The carnival takes the form of a kilometre-long floral procession. There will be many flowers, great music and an overwhelming festive atmosphere. The parade kicks off with an opening ceremony attended by local and international dignitaries like the Premier of the Free State, M.E.C.’s and cabinet ministers. The Festival is officially opened by the Madeiran President, Miguel Albuquerque.

Who designs the Flower Festival floats?

As festival partners, the Isle of Madeira has more than 40 years of experience in hosting flower festivals. They are mostly responsible for the float building and floral designs. The Madeira Islands is situated 540 miles southwest of Lisbon, Portugal. They are an autonomous region of Portugal. The Parys design team is lead by the Master Madeiran floriculturist João Egídio. João was responsible for many famous Madeira Flower Festival floats over the years. This opportunity is also used to mentor up-and-coming local flower arrangers in the art of designing for large scale flower shows and exhibitions. To be part of this breathtaking extravaganza and to be mentored by João is an invaluable experience. João is also responsible for creating themed flower carpets at the Palesa festival grounds. Last year, these flower carpets celebrated the lives of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu,  truely South African Legends.

The 5 flower floats are designed in the colours of the respective five Tourism Routes of the Free State namely the Lion Route (green,) the Cheetah Route (red,) the Eagle Route (orange,) the Flamingo Route (yellow,) and the Springbok Route (blue.)

Images from the annual Madeira Flower Festival.

Interview with organisers on SABC Good Morning Live
Where does the Flower Parade take place?

The Festival takes place in Bree Street, the main road of Parys. The street is closed off for the duration of the Festival. The Flower Forum is hosted at Partuma a famous Parys Jazz Club. The Flower Festival Grounds (Palesa Precinct) is situated at the end of Bree Street which is locally known as the “Container Mall.” This is a project by the Free State Small Business Development to stimulate the local township economy by encouraging entrepreneurial activities.

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What does it cost to attend the Free State Madeira Flower Festival?

The event is free to the public. There are many viewing stands erected along Bree Street to accommodate visitors.

What is the aim of the Parys Flower Festival 2019?

The festival’s primary objectives are:

  • To stimulate tourism to Parys and the Free State Province.
  • To utilise the event to transform the local flower industry by exposing South African flower growers to international business opportunities. African flower exports to Europe is mostly from Kenya. In fact, it is estimated that a third of the flowers imported by Europe is from Kenya! It is hoped the Festival unlocks opportunities for S.A. growers to change the status quo.
  • To cultivate a culture of travelling.
Who are the Organisers?

The Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Authority and the Isle of Madeira collaborate to host the Parys Flower Festival 2019.

What to bring with you to the event?

As this is an outdoor event you should be prepared for all circumstances. Also due to many elements playing a roll in a successful flower festival, things often run later than intended, thus pack snacks and water to tide you over while you wait.

  • Your camera or phone camera.
  • Sunscreen.
  • A hat.
  • Water.
  • An umbrella or light raincoat.
  • Something warm.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as parking may be a problem and you might have to walk a bit.
  • Cash for extra water and snacks.

As Parys is such a beautiful town and the festival ends late afternoon you should consider spending the night. You’ll be tired from being on your feet for a few hours and who feels like the drive back to Jozi then? Book a table at one of the great restaurants in town and find somewhere to sleep. Your body and mind will thank you later!

Thank you, Ruan & Bianca, for sharing your Flower Festival experience with us!
The 2019 Program (Official Draft).
Thursday, 28th November
  • Charity Golf Day
  • Flower Forum
    * A platform to share ideas around flower farming with industry role players.
    * To encourage flower trading locally and internationally.
    * To connect local flower growers with international buyers.
Friday, 29th November
  • Palesa Precinct (Festival Grounds) Open to the public.
    * Lifestyle exhibition platform.
    * Flower carpets exhibition.
    * VIP Arena.
    * Media Centre.
  • The Official Opening CeremonyMonyaka wa Dipalesa (Celebration of Flowers.) Takes place at Palesa Precinct.
    * By Invitation only.
    * Hosted as a cocktail function and showcasing the Chinese and African cuisines.
Saturday, 30th November
  • Fun Run/Walk
    * Raising awareness of the flower festival throughout Tumahole.
    * The fun run will follow the Tumahole Township Liberation Route.
    * Water stations will be situated near the homes of prominent historical figures.
    * The fun run will promote tourism precincts within the township.
  • The Parade
    * Parade Opening Ceremony.
    * 1 km of floral procession/carnival.
    * 5 Floral Floats.
    * 200 000 flowers (as estimated by The Global Times)
    * 800 participants, of which 500 are dancers.
  • Night Party
    * The after-party musical event to cater for the youth.
    * Live entertainment.
Sunday, 1st December
  • Powerboat Races
    * Supporting the talented youth from Ngwathe Local Municipality who have been training in the sport and are now ready to participate in regional and national competitions.
    * Hosted at the Parys Golf and Country Estate.

All photographs courtesy of Deon TerBlanche Photography
Free State Tourism
Flower Festival Official Website

A video posted by the ANC congratulating the Free State Government for boosting investment in the Free State Province.



15 President Steyn Rd., Parys


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