TYLER - Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on Tyler this week to enjoy the Texas Rose Festival.
The region’s rose-growing history and appreciation of the rose will be celebrated at events Thursday through Sunday. Highlights include an arrangement of thousands of roses, the lavish Queen’s Coronation and popular Rose Parade.
Last year, 46,000 out-of-town visitors came to the festival, which contributed about $2.5 million to the economy, Holli Fourniquet, vice president of marketing for Visit Tyler, said.
Community leaders founded the festival in 1933. At the time, many rose bushes sold in the nation were grown in the area. Over the years, the festival has attracted celebrities - including actor and future president Ronald Reagan - first ladies and national leaders as it gained prominence, Ms. Fourniquet noted.
Today, tourists and special guests come from all over to take in the events.
Raymond Cozby III of Tyler is president of the Texas Rose Festival Association, the organization that, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, stages the festival.
The festival will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive. Following the ceremony will be a prayer service.
Many events take place in Rose Garden Center overlooking the blooming Tyler Municipal Rose Garden.
The Rose Show, a display of more than 7,000 roses depicting the festival theme, “Celestial Wonders,” will be on view in the center 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The free Palette of Roses Art Show, featuring dozens of paintings, will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the center.
The Rose Garden Center also houses the Tyler Rose Museum, which features past rose queen gowns and displays depicting the history of the festival, rose-growing industry and city.
Free tours of the Rose Garden, one of the region’s tourist attractions, are set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday and 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday. A program on selecting roses for gardens is set for 11 a.m. Friday.
The Rose Queen’s Coronation, a theatrical production featuring orchestral music, a large set and the queen’s court depicting the festival theme, will take place Friday in The R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center at The University of Texas at Tyler.
Performances will take place at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets can be bought at texasrosefestival.com or the venue’s box office.
The court is headed by Rose Queen Emily Kaye Evans, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Lenville Evans Jr., and Rose Duchess Caroline McGinley Bertram, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Kenneth Bertram.
Also presented will be the ladies-in-waiting, out-of-town duchesses, escorts and the queen’s young attendants.
The Texas Rose Parade and Queen’s Tea will take place on Saturday.
The parade will step off at 9 a.m. on Front Street at Glenwood Boulevard and follows a route west on Front Street and through East Texas State Fairgrounds. It ends inside Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
A pre-parade show inside the stadium will begin at 9 a.m. Reserved section seating in the stadium costs $7 to $10. It is free to watch the parade along the route.
The free Queen’s Tea is set for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Rose Garden. The queen’s court will be presented under pavilions to greet festival visitors.
The Rose Festival Arts and Crafts Fair and Plant Sale is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Bergfeld Park, 1510 S. College Ave.
The event will include dozens of vendors offering handcrafted items. Entertainers will perform in the park amphitheater both days.
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the parks department will show a free screening in Bergfeld Park of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day.