WE'RE not sure if this comes under the category of trivia or the coincidental, but this year's Tulip Time Festival in the Southern Highlands of NSW will be the 52nd of what has become one of the biggest celebrations of the tulip in Australia, and a far cry from when the first bulbs were planted all those years ago in the town of Bowral for its new-fangled Festival of Flowers.
Coincidental perhaps, because this year 20 council gardeners have planted around 65,000 bulbs in Corbett Gardens, Bowral that will be the centre-piece of Tulip Time - and if visitor-interest continues as it has in the past, 65,000 buffs will flock into the Southern Highlands to see those 65,000 tulips (one visitor for each tulip).
And that's not including many thousands more tulips and daffodils, bluebells, peonies and diverse other annuals, bursting-forth in rainbows of Spring-time colour in private gardens proudly thrown-open to public viewing.
But it's not all just about tip-toeing through the tulips.
The 14-day Festival that this year will run from September 18 to October 1 will also include a colourful Street Parade through Bowral at 3pm on Saturday September 22 with classic cars and historic and modern-day fire engines, marching bands, dancers and other performers.
Plus during the fortnight there'll be local radio station 2ST's Tulip Time Dinner Dance featuring crooner Tom Burlinson on September 20 and Breakfast in the Park in Corbett Gardens on September 21, a Food and Wine Fair as well as a House and Garden Expo on September 22 and 23, a Festival of Rugby (September 29,) Tulips After Dark on September 22 after the Street Parade… even a "Battle of the Bangers" at the historic Surveyor-General Inn at Berrima (Sunday September 30) to find the region's best snag makers and cooks.
Certainly a long way from that first one-week Festival of Flowers that was later re-named Tulip Time, and whose main attraction away from the tulips was a street parade with the obligatory Queen of the Festival competition.
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