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Thousands of visitors expected for 102nd Annual Rose Show and Festival

Event pumps a lot of money into South Georgia businesses
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Posted at 3:00 PM, Apr 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-28 18:33:01-04

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — A Thomasville tradition is making a return to the Rose City. It’s the 102nd Annual Rose Show and Festival.

A good year for the festival draws about 19,000 people to the area. With so many people coming to town, the economic benefit can be huge.

“I am very excited. This is a festival I look forward to every single year,” shared Nicole Elwell. She is no stranger to the Thomasville Rose Show and Festival. “It is a festival that I’ve attended for the last 20 years on and off.”

 

Earlier this year, she took on the role of Special Events Manager for the City of Thomasville. Now, she’s working behind the scenes for a tradition many like her celebrate every year. “To actually be in the works and working hands on with it, it’s really delightful. I just really enjoy it,” Elwell added.

She’s working alongside people like Bonnie Hayes.

“This will be my 7th Rose Show and Festival,” explained Hayes. “Each one of them is special.”

 

Hayes is Director for Tourism Development, City of Thomasville. She added, “we wait all year for the rose show and festival because of what it does bring into our community. It brings people from all over the country in here.” All those visitors fill up hotel rooms in Thomasville and surrounding communities like Tallahassee, Cairo and Moultrie.

Hayes also said that economic activity addes up to $2 million to this community from this two-day event. One business hoping to catch in on that is Tvelo Brewing Company on East Jackson Street.

 

“It’s hard to not see the possible dollars of an influx of individuals from out of town as well as the fact that we’re getting ready to get into distribution,” explained Maurice Jackson, chief operation officer at Tvelo. They opened earlier this year. Now that business is up and running, Jackson said he’s excited to take part in his first Rose Show & Festival. “It’s your first one. You want to do well. You want to represent well and represent the town well.”

They serve locally brewed beers to a crowd that event leaders expect to grow along with festival events.

 

“We are expecting the southeast’s largest car and truck show this year in the downtown,” Hayes added. “We’re actually having to expand the car and truck show footprint, because we are going to have over 200 vehicles lined up in downtown.” That footprint expands on the more than the 165 vehicles that participated in the Thomasville Police department’s show last year. Proceeds benefit community outreach programs.

It’s that community that Elwell said she’s proud to be part of. “It takes every single person in the town to come together. As we like to say, Thomasville and everybody in it really owns the Rose Show.”

There’s a street dance at 8:30 Friday night immediately following the Rose Parade. The dance will be at the intersection of North Broad and Jefferson Streets. It features a free, live concert by the Swingin’ Medallions.