The kickoff for the 80th annual Texas Rose Festival started Friday at Willow Brook Country Club as volunteers and officials begin the countdown to crown this year’s Rose Queen, Rachel Vanderpool Clyde, in October.
The theme of this year’s festival is “Raindrops on Roses … and other favorite things.” The event will take place Oct. 17-19.
Randy Grooms, president of the Texas Rose Festival Association, thanked volunteers for their tireless work and corporate sponsors and media for their promotion of the festival.
“We are very grateful that our community is filled with such wonderful supporters that are willing to give of their time and talents to help the festival,” he said. “We could not continue the tradition without such invaluable support.”
Duchess of the Rose Growers Taylor Carroll thanked volunteers and supporters who give their time and money to bring the festival to life each year.
Texas Rose Queen Rachel Vanderpool Clyde, the sixth Rose Queen in her family, said her long-time familial ties to Tyler would make the honor of being crowned a special occasion. She said her sister, Sarah, who experienced the yearlong lead up to the coronation in 2008, and aunt, have been giving her pointers.
Miss Clyde said being a part of the 80-year tradition has been a thrill so far. She said the theme gave costume designers a wide range of design options and she expects this year’s court will wow crowds.
But she gave no hint about this year’s Rose Queen dress. She said interested eyes will have to wait until October.
“On behalf of the entire court, I’d like to remind everyone that all the effort that has gone into this won’t be worth it if we don’t have fun,” she said.
The Texas Rose Festival Association was created in 1933 to promote the local rose industry, celebrate community volunteerism and attract tourism and commerce to Tyler and Smith County.
The Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau reported the rose industry is a big tourist draw for Tyler.
More than 100,000 people visit during rose season annually with an economic impact of more than $2.2 million during the three-week season.
The Queen’s Coronation is on Oct. 18. Tickets go on sale at the Cowan Center Box Office Sept. 3.