Thursday, September 22, 2016

Carnival of Flowers Parade

The Carnival of Flowers is an excuse for the city of Toowoomba to metaphorically put on shorts and a tee-shirt (actually people wear these all winter) and bask in the spring warmth. Since The Friday before and the Sunday after this Saturday were rainy and cold, it has to be done in a hurry.

At the Anglican Church (St. Luke's) there was, in addition to the sale of flowers, there was a sale of woolen good in the fellowship hall.

Inside the church, the Brisbane Regional Youth Orchestra was preparing for a concert.

The concert was fun. The director was a real hoot. He told us tales and pranced and danced up and down the aisle. His entertainment during the performance of the Stars and Stripes at the end was perfect.

After lunch, we went to the movies to see Ron Howard documentary on the Beatles. It was quite good and gave us a very different perspective on what being a Beatle and a Beatles' fan was all about. The inclusion of the social context was a great addition.

When we walked out of the theater, we were just in time to see the parade. Included here is not the whole parade, or even most of it. I just want to share with you the bits that I found interesting and are different from what you would expect to see in the US.

All parades have to have a drum corp, and this one is no exception.

And, of course, there must be proper bands to play music for us. Naturally, we have the Divine Land Marching Band of the Falun Gong practitioners in Toowoomba.

Exactly like a small town parade in the US, only entirely different. Imagine having a Chinese spiritual practice sponsor a marching band in Gadsden, AL!

The next logical thing to expect is, of course, the llamas, right?

All the floats have flowers and plants on them, just like the Tournament of Roses Parade, in LA. The difference here seems to be one of budget, mostly.

There have to be cars in the parade. This one happens to be a Buick.

Something I've never seen back home is a performing group like the RedLands Ladies Drum Corp. Mature women armed with sticks that they know how to use is a bit unsettling. But they played very well.

Then, there was more Falun Gong-ers in the parade.

This time they brought their dragon...

and their drum.

Roanoke, VA has nearly the same population as Toowoomba, just to put this display in context for you.

Those of you who know me, remember that I spent years playing in the community band in Harrisonburg. Here's the rough equivalent in Toowoomba: the Toowoomba Municipal Band. 

There were lots of floats with themes that I don't fully remember now.

And even a horse-drawn carriage or two. This one is from the Highfields Pioneer Village.

We saw a pipe band playing. As you can tell from the hats, this is not your typical Scottish pipe band. There is a definite Aussie flair in the choice of headwear here.

Finally, we seem to have a visit from a local Buddhist Temple who brought a 'tent' version of their shrine.

It was a colorful event and a pleasant afternoon. Toowoomba is a fascinating place filled with folks from places only experienced in the US in a large city. 

We had parked well before the parade in a garage around the corner. Since we left before the end of the parade, we were able to easily slip out and drive home with a minimum of traffic.