Members of the 84th Texas Rose Festival’s royal court celebrated the countdown to the October event with family, friends and supporters of the festival on Friday night at Willow Brook Country Club.
This year’s festival, themed “Celestial Wonders,” takes place Oct. 19 to 22.
At the kickoff, the 2017 Texas Rose Festival board thanked the festival’s participants and volunteers who have already begun working to make sure the event is a success in the fall.
“Tonight’s special event is to honor this year’s participants and to thank all of the volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes,” Ray Cozby, Texas Rose Festival board president, 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.”
He added that the festival helps promote Tyler’s rose industry by attracting thousands of tourists to the city.
Texas Rose Festival Duchess Caroline Bertram said getting to promote that history is part of what makes her role such an honor.
“I am truly honored to represent the history of this world-renowned event and promote our beautiful city and civic pride as the Duchess of the 84th Texas Rose Festival,” she said. “And, I am so proud to be standing here before you celebrating Tyler’s unique identity as home of America’s flower - the rose.”
Texas Rose Festival Queen Emily Evans said she’s enjoyed getting to learn about the festival’s history.
“Since the beginning of the year, I have really enjoyed learning so much of the rich history of the Texas Rose Festival and the impact it has had on the East Texas community,” she said. “While many aspects of the festival such as the themes and costumes have evolved over the past 80 years, one thing has remained the same: the strong sense of service and support from its many volunteers.”
This week, members of the queen’s court have been bonding and spending lots of time together as they practice for the coronation ceremony, which takes place Oct. 20.
Miss Bertram said she has appreciated getting to spend time with other members of the court as she prepares for her role in the event.
“I’ve been to every single coronation since I was little … and so it’s fun getting to learn everything that I have to do,” she said. “I get to do it with my friends which makes the experience even better.”
Miss Evans said she’s also enjoyed spending time with other participants and getting to meet new people.
She said she is excited about this year’s festival and hopes the community realizes how important their involvement is in making the event a success.
“Like every year, this event would not be possible without the volunteers and I really hope that everyone understands how important it is for the community to come together in order for this to happen,” she said. “I’m excited for all of this to start in October and hope everyone enjoys it. It’s going to be great.”
Closer Look: At the event, the Texas Rose Festival board announced the sale of tickets for several events, including the men’s and ladies’ luncheons and coronation ceremonies, will begin Sept. 1 and can be purchased through the Cowan Center box office. For more information, go to www.texasrosefestival.com.  ;