The countdown to the 81st Texas Rose Festival began with a kickoff reception and news conference Friday at Willow Brook Country Club.
Preston Smith, president of the Texas Rose Festival Association, said the festival celebrates the beauty of the rose, promotes the local rose industry and civic pride while attracting tourists.
Smith thanked this year’s participants and “volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes.”
He said, “We are very grateful that our community is filled with such generous supporters that are willing to give of their time and talents to help the festival. We could not continue the tradition without such invaluable support.”
Smith recognized the kickoff party chairmen — Cadie Johnson, Zoe Lawhorn, Jennifer Pierce and Nicole Robbins.
The 2014 Texas Rose Festival queen, Kathryn Elizabeth Peltier, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert James Peltier, will reign over the festival on Oct. 16 to 18, which will have the theme of “Cirque de la Rose.”
Miss Peltier said she is honored to be the queen representing the city of Tyler and the famous Tyler roses.
She thanked Smith and her parents “for allowing me this opportunity to partake in such a wonderful citywide event.”
Miss Peltier also thanked volunteers and festival workers who she said play a crucial role in the festivities.” She added, “Without them, none of this would take place so a big thank you to all of you.”
Miss Peltier said she is excited to show the duchesses and escorts “what Tyler is about and how the rose industry plays such a vital role in our community.”
The 2014 Duchess of the Rose Festival is Kathleen Sinclair Bertram, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Kenneth Bertram.
Miss Bertram said, “It is a true honor to be the duchess of the Texas Rose Festival.”
She added, “The Rose Festival, along with the city of Tyler, has focused on the same mission … celebrating the beauty of the rose, promoting the local rose industry and attracting tourism to our beautiful city.”
Miss Bertram also thanked “all the volunteers and supporters of the community who give their time and money to make this extraordinary festival come to life year after year.”
Highlights of the rose festival will include a matinee coronation of the queen at 2 p.m. and an evening coronation at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the R. Don Cowan Fine & Performing Arts Center and the rose parade at 9 a.m. Oct. 18.
General public ticket sales to the coronation will begin Sept. 2 at the Cowan Center box office, 903-566-7424. The parade of floats, marching bands, walking groups, drill teams, mounted horse clubs, vintage cars and the queen and her court is free.
The festival will begin with a ribbon-cutting opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Oct. 16 at Tyler Rose Garden Center.
A new event this year will be a kickoff concert, which will be free and open to the public 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16 in Bergfeld Park.
A rose show free and open to the public will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 17 and 18 and at noon Oct. 19.
Also on Oct. 17, a men’s luncheon will begin at 11:15 a.m. at Villa di Felcita and a ladies’ luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at CrossWalk Conference Center at Green Acres Baptist Church with tickets required. The queen’s tea will be 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 18 at Tyler Rose Garden and is free and open to the public.
The rose festival also will feature a variety of other activities, including arts and crafts fair, floral shows and garden tour