Rose Show and Festival kicks off - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rose Show and Festival kicks off

Thomasville- The 84th annual "Rose Show and Festival" is a huge celebration filled with dozens of events. It has also become a tradition in the "Rose City."

     Thousands of people are expected to turn out for the event this weekend. Some of them come from all over our region. The "Rose Show and Festival" is so popular, people like Joyce Prestridge and her friends will travel hundreds of miles to attend. They came all the way from Carrolton. "Being ladies and having a good time, and not in a big hurry, it took us about five hours," says Prestridge.

     For these ladies, this weekend jaunt to Thomasville is their spring fling. But for the planners like chairwoman Sandra Hall, the weekend is so much more. "We want to encourage people to get interested in gardening again, to get interested in growing roses, to help make our community the beautiful community it is," says Hall.

     This is the second year the event has been back in downtown. Previously it was held in various locations throughout Thomas County. "We're very pleased with the downtown arena, and we've had some wonderful comments about it so I think this will be where we'll be forever," says Hall.

     Unlike like the roses that are the centerpiece of this event, the planning for it isn't seasonal. It begins the day after the Rose Show ends. "All of the committee members get together and we talk about all of the things we liked about the show this year, what went well, what we might want to change," says Hall.

     That's a year's worth of planning to make the next show and festival loads of fun for people like Prestridge and her friends. "It works out real well, we just leave our families at home," laughs Prestridge. Similar to the months it takes roses to bloom, that's time well spent.

     The rose show itself will open Friday on Crawford Street at 1:30. That evening at 7:00 the Rose Parade begins. After that, you'll have to juggle a full weekend's worth of events.

     Those beautiful roses that grow around Thomasville help the area's economy grow too. Thousands of visitors will spend big money while they're in town.

     With so many people downtown for the festival, many restaurants and shops are staying open later. Savannah Moon owner Ben Golden plans to stay open late Friday and come in early Saturday. "Just to serve the people who come downtown. A lot of people will be here who don't normally come downtown, for the parade. To let them know we're here, and just to help support the area," he says.

     Several streets are blocked off for events, but city officials made sure all businesses are accessible. You can watch the "Rose Parade" on WALB News 10 Friday at 7:00.

Posted by stephen.ryan@walb.com

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