TYLER — The Texas Rose Festival is back to celebrate its 88th year honoring the city of Tyler’s rose industry, celebrating volunteerism and providing an area economic boost beginning today. This past year’s festival was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liz Ballard, executive director of the Texas Rose Festival Association, said people are enthusiastic to come out for the fellowship and honor the Rose City.

“It’s nice to be able to open the garden and have fun together. We definitely missed the opportunities during the pandemic,” Ballard said. “We’re in a frenzy trying to put all the details together. The Queen’s Tea is coming together beautifully.”

Held in October, the festival celebrates the area’s rose-growing heritage and the beauty of the rose, the symbol of Tyler.

This year’s festivities will run today through Saturday, including men’s and ladies’ luncheons, the coronations, the Queen’s Tea and the Rose Parade.

Texas Rose Festival Queen Anna Grace Hallmark, Rose Festival Princess Elizabeth “Ellie” Reid Walker and Duchess of the Rose Growers Emily Ann Milton are continuing their reigns after last year’s festival was delayed. The festival theme is “Secrets of the Garden.”

Members of the queen’s court are presented in a lavish show that concludes with the symbolic crowning of the rose queen. Court members also are featured during the tea and the parade.

Rose Festival officials and community members will celebrate the 88th Texas Rose Festival ribbon cutting and morning prayer service at 10 a.m. today at the Rose Garden Center at 420 Rose Park Drive in Tyler.

The ribbon cutting is free and open to the public.

Ballard said this year’s coronation will have a different look thanks to new costume designer Jacob A. Climer, a Dallas native with a master of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

“He will bring a lot of fresh, beautiful designs,” Ballard said. “I will say the designs, they’ve got a very couture feeling to them. Everything is themed around the ‘Secrets of the Garden.’ ”

Every core representative in the coronation will be dressed in a theme of something found in a garden, such as a flower or bird, Ballard said.

Ballard noted the festival provides a great economic impact to the city of Tyler, and she’s glad the festival can help provide tourism and get people traveling again.

“It’s amazing how thousands of people come to Tyler for the Rose Festival,” she said, adding people shop, eat and stay at hotels in the area for the festivities.

For the evening coronation at 7 p.m. Friday, Ballard said the projected attendance is approaching a couple thousand people, while the matinee coronation is expected to have 1,200.

The ladies’ luncheon Friday is sold out at more than 500 people, and the men’s luncheon is expected to have around 550 attendees.

For the parade and the Queen’s Tea, Ballard said festival officials are expecting upward of 25,000 people along the parade route or coming to the tea.

“Our parade this year has got a fabulous, diverse group of civic groups, bands, car clubs and tractor groups. We’ve got the famous Tyler Junior College Apache Belles and band,” Ballard said.

The Tyler Motorcycle Cops, veterans and first responders also will be a part of the parade.

She encouraged people to come out for the festival and also see the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ballard asked that visitors be patient when it comes to parking at the Rose Garden Center for the ribbon cutting and the Queen’s Tea.

For a full list of events, visit texasrosefestival.com .

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