THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — Parades, dances, shopping and fireworks are all part of the 101st Annual Rose Show & Festival in Thomasville.
“We are getting really excited,” said Whitney Hines, manager of Farmer’s Daughter Vineyards Tasting room. This is one of the many small businesses counting on crowds to show up for the yearly event. The last two years haven’t been easy.
“It’s huge,” Hines added. “It’s one of the top 3 things that go on during the year.”
The city says the average person on a day trip to Thomasville spends about $85 per person. That’s money that Madison Eaton said keeps this community thriving. She’s the city’s tourism and special events manager.
“We have had hotels call and say that they’ve been booked for weeks already,” Eaton said. “The Air BNB owners have let us know that they’ve been booked.”
She works with Bonnie Hayes, the director of tourism development, to put the show on each year. In 2020, the pandemic essentially brought the show to a standstill. Then, heavy rain hurt the turnout in 2021.
“To say that the weather dampened our spirits is an understatement,” Hayes shared.
The weather cut attendance from as many as 19,000 in 2019 to an estimated 10,000 in 2021. This year, they’re hoping a drop in COVID cases and plenty of sunshine will bring this annual event back to life and keep downtown landmarks like Imagination Emporium ringing up fun for years to come.
Anna Lee owns the toy store in a building where she says the Rose Show got its start decades ago. “Events like the Rose Show bring in so many people, especially people from the surrounding communities who don’t come to Thomasville that often,” Lee explained.
The city said they’re expecting an estimated economic impact of $1.5 to $2 million in direct revenue.
“It gives us a chance to kind of put our stores in front of people who haven’t seen it maybe or haven’t discovered it yet,” Lee concluded.
New this year, organizers are combining the Rose Bud Parade with the traditional Rose Parade. The big parade kicks off at 7 p.m. downtown on Broad Street.
New Saturday, there will be the Rose Fest Market at The Ritz Amphitheater featuring handmade goods for sale along with food trucks, kids’ activities and music. Also, the fireworks, which usually happen Friday night, have been moved to Saturday night at The Ritz Amphitheater to close out this year’s event.