Everything will be coming up roses at the Texas Rose Festival. The celebration of Tyler’s rose-growing heritage takes place Oct. 17-20.
Except for during World War II, the festival has been held annually since 1933. During its earliest years, the Tyler rose industry grew and shipped many of the rosebushes sold in the United States.
Over the decades, the festival has received national attention and is now the city’s largest observance. The events attract tens of thousands of people.
Rose Queen Hanna Waits, Duchess of the Rose Growers Alexis Smith and Rose Princess Elizabeth Schoenbrun will preside over the festival. All are sophomores in college and in families with a history of festival involvement.
Rose Festival Association President Britt Brookshire invited them to participate and to be the festival’s ambassadors.
At Rose Sunday, an event held earlier this year, the women recognized contributions of the rose industry, Tyler Rose Garden and the festival in establishing Tyler as the Rose Capital of America.
“The rose industry and our spectacular Rose Garden have played a tremendous role in advancing the reputation of our city and surrounding communities,” Waits said. “People come from all around the world to see the famous Tyler Rose Garden.”
Smith added: “Our community is truly blessed by the legacy of our Tyler roses and all the efforts of the growers, processors and the festival that have made them famous over all these years.”
Schoenbrun praised the festival for uniting the community and shaping its identity.
“Throughout the years, I have noticed not only how the festival brings the community together, but I’m also aware of what a tremendous role the rose industry has played in establishing Tyler as the Rose Capital of America,” she said.
Festival representatives will cut a rose-covered ribbon and welcome guests at an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Oct. 17 at Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive.
The public can then enter the center and get the first look at the Rose Presentation, a display using more than 7,000 rose blooms to depict the festival theme, “Portraits of Inspiration.”
The display will be on view throughout the festival.
The Rose Garden Center will also be the site of the Palette of Roses Art Show Oct. 17-19.
A highlight on Oct. 18 will the Rose Queen’s Coronation, the lavish presentation — with a set, costumes and music — of the Rose Queen’s Court.
The court is made up of ladies-in-waiting from Tyler families, out-of-town duchesses, escorts and the queen’s young attendants.
The coronation is known for the creative character costumes and queen’s long train that are designed by Winn Morton of Lancaster. As the grand finale, Brookshire will symbolically crown 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 box office, 903-566-7424.
On Oct. 19, the events will include the Texas Rose Festival Parade, Queen’s Tea and Rose Festival Arts and Crafts Fair.
The parade will step off at 9 a.m. at Glenwood and Front streets and go west on Front, through the East Texas State Fairgrounds and end in Christus Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
A show will begin in Rose Stadium at 9 a.m. to entertain audiences until the parade arrives.
The parade will have about 120 units including bands, drill teams, dignitaries, floats, Shriners and street performers. It is free to view the parade along the route. There is a fee to view from seating in the stadium.
At the free Queen’s Tea, set from 1 to 3 p.m., 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 be at the Arts and Crafts Fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bergfeld Park, 1520 S. College Ave. The fair will also have food trucks and activities for a children.
The festival ends on Oct. 20, with the Rose Presentation display and Arts and Crafts Fair.
A complete schedule of festival events is available at texasrosefestival.com.