Learn More About the Famous Texas Rose Festival

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It’s no secret that roses are one of the most popular flowers in the world. Throughout the years, their beautiful blossoms and striking thorns have inspired innumerable poets, writers, composers, singers, and painters to create new works of art. Like the famous roses, Texans are among the country’s most ethnically and racially varied people. Because of the wide variety of people and places that make up Texas, many festivals have sprung up that reflect the diversity of the state’s residents. 

Red Roses Decorated on a Balcony

In Tyler, Texas, the Rose Capital of Texas, the entire month of February is dedicated to celebrating Rose Season, and there are plenty of activities for the whole family. Art and craft fairs, historic home and rose tours, festivals, and concerts are just a few events that occur throughout the year. The Texas Rose Festival, which includes the Rose Show, Coronation, Queen’s Tea, and, of course, the Texas Rose Festival Parade, is an essential part of the season. The expansion of Tyler’s rose industry over the years has been paralleled by the development of the city’s annual rose festival. Both had humble beginnings but thrived, and the city has become renowned as America’s rose capital.

The Beginning of the Rose Festival

Blooming White Roses

As a result of the dreadful bubonic plague that ravaged many regions of the United States in the early 1900s, the Tyler, Texas, area saw the birth of the Texas Rose Festival. Tyler’s civic and municipal leaders came together during the Great Depression to organize a festival to promote Tyler’s rose industry in 1933. A significant source of revenue for the inhabitants – peach orchards – was lost because of the ravages. The peaches were affected by a pest known as the San Joes scale, which resulted in huge losses for local growers. Fortunately, the residents of Tyler were able to use this tragic turn of events to develop something beautiful: a rose-filled town. The Texas Rose Festival was born out of this calamity and has since become a beloved tradition.

Roses in a float

They began cultivating roses in the 1920s, and by the 1980s, they had become the country’s leading supplier of roses. Tyler was essentially transformed into a rose farm. As a result, it has earned the moniker “Rose Capital of the World” and boasts the country’s most extensive rose garden. Smith County holds the Texas Rose Festival every year in Tyler, known as the “Rose Capital of America.” Tyler Garden Club members and area rose growers established the first Tyler Rose Festival in October 1933. To pay for the event, volunteers contributed $1,500, and thousands of individuals from fifteen states participated. Margaret Copland, a native of Tyler, was selected as the first Rose Queen to receive the title. The festival was discontinued during World War II but has been held yearly since then. These yearly festivities feature a Rose Show, a coronation of the Rose Queen, and an elaborate parade of floats and musicians.

The beautiful costumes and awe-inspiring roses swiftly spread throughout the state as people heard about the annual festivities. Around this point, the Texas Rose Festival began to earn national notoriety, hosting luminaries such as First Ladies and future presidents. Travelers worldwide travel to Texas to be a part of its rich heritage. The Texas Rose Festival, just like Texas other Flower Festivals, was an integral element of Tyler’s cultural landscape for more than eight decades. The Coronation Ball and “Concert in the Park” with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra are also part of the festivities. The Rose Parade is just one of many highlights. The Rose Museum is a must-see in the “Rose Capital of the United States.”

The Rose Industry of Tyler

Rose Float

Tyler roses are well-known in the industry. White House Rose Garden now boasts Tyler “Apache Belle” roses, which were given to Lady Bird Johnson in 1968 as a wedding gift. Although roses were first planted in the Tyler region in 1850, it wasn’t until the mid-1920s that they became the primary agricultural crop. The orchards of many farmers at the time were decimated by disease, forcing them to rely nearly solely on the production of rose bushes.

In 1917, Texas was the source of the first shipment of roses to be sent out of the state. More than a thousand individuals were working for 200 growth nexuses in New York by 1945. East Texas is now home to more than 300 different types of roses. Radiance, Talisman, Étoile de Hollande, and President Hoover are a few available variations. In 1946, Dr. Eldon Lyle established in Tyler what is now known as the Rose Research Foundation. Tyler alone directly transports roughly 250 cars of supplies per year. More than twenty-five thousand seedlings can be found in each vehicle. Rosé-based items, such as the city’s rose petal jelly, are also a big draw for visitors. 

Fun Activities During Texas Rose Festival

Rose Parade - 2016-01-01

1. Witness the Coronation of the Rose Queen and her Court. The Rose Queen’s crowning and the adoring court are a significant part of the Texas Rose Festival; their elaborate sparkly dresses are the most remarkable aspects of their appearance. Each year’s dresses have a different design motif to match the festivities. As a rule, the Rose Queen’s court includes people from affluent backgrounds. The Duchess of the Rose Growers is a court member and is typically a lady chosen from a family involved in rose production. Also, young women with Tyler ties are welcome to join in on the fun as duchesses and escorts! Ladies-in-waiting are from families with longstanding ties to the festival and appear in their sophomore year. As a bonus, you’ll watch some lovely elementary school kids dressed up as train conductors, scepter bearers, and Rose Queen attendants. There have been 27 Rose Queens since this beautiful tradition began in 1993. 

2. Have Fun in the Rose Festival Parade. The Texas Rose Festival’s parade is undoubtedly the festival’s most anticipated event; in preparation for the procession, hundreds of floats and onboard participants gather on Glenwood Boulevard, with the members of the drill squad, as well as people riding horses and driving classic cars. Participants march through the East Texas Fairgrounds toward Rose Stadium, drawing attention to themselves and their actions with cameras in hand. The Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium is a beautiful venue for this prestigious occasion. The shady side of the stadium is filled with onlookers who want to avoid the heat of the day. The spectators may look at the floats as they make their way around the stadium.

Cowboy on a Rose Parade

3. A Visit to the Tyler Rose Museum. In addition to the Texas Rose Festival, the Tyler Rose Museum is a popular visitor stop. It is here that visitors can learn about the history of Tyler’s rose producers and the rose business. Private donations and volunteer labor are used to supplement museum operating costs. The museum has an excellent collection of rose festival photos, film clips, and newspaper clippings. The museum also offers a gift store where you can buy beautiful souvenirs to commemorate your visit, and you may also find everything from T-shirts to paintings to key chains that may be found in the average tourist shop.

4. Stroll at the Tyler Rose Garden. The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the most extensive in the country. The 14-acre garden, which was first established in 1952, is one of the largest in the world. More than 38,000 rose bushes are in the garden, representing more than 600 different types. Reflecting ponds, fountains, and paths adorn the garden’s landscape. This lovely garden received a slew of new blooms, including lilies and tulips, in 2012. So, it’s no wonder the park has become the go-to spot for everyone, from family portraits to personal photoshoots to professional work!

The Rose Queen and her Court

5. Attend the Queen’s Tea. The Queen’s Tea is held in the rose garden, which is resplendent. Everyone is welcome to the tea, which is provided free of charge. A chance to meet the Queen of Roses and her court is offered to the public. The tea at the Texas Rose Festival is where some of the festival’s cutest moments are captured.

Traveling to Texas for the weekend can be an enjoyable experience, especially if you’re looking to escape work and home life pressures. More than a dozen events are offered each year during the Rose Festival, wine-tasting, gardening lectures, museum excursions, concerts, and cooking workshops. Texas Rose Festival is a lovely example of people celebrating their identity. Tyler’s booming tourism economy is one of the festival’s most evident benefits. People feel a great sense of belonging and unity as a result. It provides them with a source of happiness in the face of adversity. Additionally, it gives them something to speak about for the rest of the year.

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