On Thursday, Rachel Vanderpool Clyde will snip a rose-covered ribbon to launch the Texas Rose Festival — a four-day celebration of Tyler’s long history of growing and appreciating roses.
Miss Clyde, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Clyde of Tyler, is serving as rose queen. The sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin will be front and center at festival events that traditionally attract thousands, including visitors from across the nation.
Participants in the queen’s court include Taylor Brooke Carroll, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tim Carroll as duchess of the rose growers, young women from Tyler families as ladies-in-waiting and another group of women as out-of-town duchesses. The court also includes escorts and young children featured as the queen’s attendants.
The theme of the festival is “Raindrops on Roses: and Other Favorite Things,” which pays homage to imagery and themes in the classic musical “The Sound of Music.”
Texas Rose Festival Association President Randy Grooms heads volunteers who work through the year to make the festival a spectacular event. Julie Kidwell Dawson is the association’s executive director.
The festival will begin with a ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday in Rose Garden Center. Miss Clyde and Grooms will be joined by dignitaries to proclaim that the 80th Texas Rose Festival has officially commenced.
Traditionally the rose queen and her delegation then tour the Rose Show, a vignette using some 14,000 roses located in Rose Garden Center lobby and take part in a prayer service — a time to thank God for blessings.
Rose Garden Center also is the site of Palette of Roses Art Show, a juried art show, and the Tyler Rose Museum, which offers interactive exhibits that preserve the colorful history of the festival and the region’s rose-growing heritage.
The Rose Show and Palette of Roses are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, Rose Garden Center will be the site of three free presentations: “All About Roses,” at 11 a.m.; “Proper Tree Care” at 1 p.m. and “How Roses From Around the World Came to Tyler” at 3 p.m.
The festival’s men’s and ladies’ luncheons also take place on Friday.
Colin Cowie, a special events planner to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, is to speak at the Ladies’ Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at Green Acres Baptist Church’s CrossWalk Conference Center. Red McCombs, whose many business interests have included automotive dealerships and professional sports teams, will speak at the Men’s Luncheon.
A highlight of the festival is the formal presentation of the rose queen and her court. Coronation performances will take place at 2 p.m. (technically a dress rehearsal) and 7 p.m. at R. Don Cowan Fine & Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler.
Ladies of the court will be presented on the Cowan stage in gowns, created by costume designer Winn Morton. The Coronation culminates with Miss Clyde appearing in her lavish gown and train with escort Alvin Hale Buckley and attendants. Grooms will join Miss Clyde in the spotlight to declare her queen of the 80th Texas Rose Festival.
An exhibition of costumes by Morton — whose designs have been featured at the festival for more than 30 years — is on view at Tyler Museum of Art.
On Saturday, festival attractions include the Rose Parade and Queen’s Tea.
The parade steps off at 9 a.m. at Front and Glenwood streets, proceeds west on Front Street, passes through the west end of East Texas State Fairgrounds and ends inside Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
A pre-parade show begins at 9 a.m. inside the stadium. Seating is free along the parade route. There is a charge to see the parade from seating inside the stadium.
The parade will feature more than 100 entries including dignitaries, bands, drill teams, Shriners, specialty acts and floats that will carry the rose queen and her court.
Spectators will begin arriving at the crack of dawn.Tyler police will block some streets near the parade route on Saturday morning.
The Queen’s Tea will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the center court of the Tyler Rose Garden. Presented by queen’s parents, the tea is a free event in which visitors can meet and have their photographs taken with Queen Rachel and members of her court while enjoying refreshments and taking in the beauty of one of the largest municipal rose gardens in the United States.
Saturday also marks the start of the Rose Festival Arts and Crafts Fair located in Bergfeld Park, at Broadway and College streets. The Arts and Crafts Fair will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival concludes 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday with the final day of the Arts and Crafts Fair.
Tickets to events can be ordered through the website www.texasrosefestival.com or the box office at the Cowan Center at The University of Texas at Tyler. The box office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. The number is 903-566-7424.
Tickets to the Rose Queen’s Coronation range from $5 to $65. Tickets to the Ladies’ Luncheon begin at $50. The Men’s Luncheon is sold out.
Tickets to view the Rose Parade from inside the stadium range from $7 to $10.
This is the 80th anniversary of the founding of the festival. Rose growing became an important cash crop in Smith County in the early 1900s after a blight wiped out much of the peach crop.
When a group of Tyler garden club members in 1933 approached the chamber of commerce about launching a festival to salute the rose industry, little did they know they were setting into motion what would become one of the city’s most beloved traditions.
The first festival in 1933 included the Rose Show, Queen’s Coronation, parade and a collegiate football game. The coronation ceremony was held in Bergfeld Park.
The Rose Festival Association was chartered in 1934 to stage future festivals. The third festival garnered national attention by featuring a football clash between Texas A&M University and Temple University.
The festival quickly became known for its ornate displays of roses and Queen’s Coronation ceremony featuring designer gowns and orchestral music.
Built on decades of tradition and the service of hundreds of volunteers, the festival continues to feature a parade, a rose show and coronation - just as the first festival did decades ago.
The Tyler-area still plays an important role in processing rose plants sold throughout the United States.
More than 100 units will be featured in the Texas Rose Parade on Saturday, organizers announced.
The attractions will include floats, bands, drill teams, cheer and twirling groups, Shriners, color guards, dignitaries, specialty acts, businesses and community groups.
The parade will begin at 9 a.m. at Front and Glenwood streets, travel west on Front and then move through the East Texas State Fairgrounds before ending inside Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
Tickets to view the parade from seating on the west side of Rose Stadium range from $7 to $10. There is no charge to view the parade along the route.
A pre-parade show inside the stadium will begin at 9 a.m.
Tyler police will block off streets on and near the parade route beginning early Saturday morning.
Parade participants include:
Rose Queen Rachel Vanderpool Clyde, Duchess of the Rose Growers Taylor Brooke Carroll, the queen’s attendants, ladies-in-waiting and out-of-town duchesses will be featured on floats. Float sponsors are The city of Tyler, AT&T, Flowers Baking Co., Brookshire’s Grocery Co., Order of the Rose, Southside Bank, The Hamptons, Austin Bank, GG Distributing, Dillard’s and the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Randy Grooms, the president of the Texas Rose Festival, and his wife, JoAnn; Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Clyde, parents of the rose queen; Strutters President Tab Lawhorn and his wife, Zoe; Texas Nursery and Landscape Association representative Mark Chamblee and his wife, Sharon; Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass and Councilman Martin Heines; Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle; Tyler Fire Chief Tim Johnson, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith; Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rosemary Jones; Smith County Judge Joel Baker and Commissioners Cary Nix and JoAnn Hampton; Congressman Louie Gohmert and Cassi Coffey, Texas Rose Festival scholarship recipient.
Tyler Junior College’s band and Apache Belles; John Tyler High School’s band, drill team, cheerleaders and ROTC; Robert E Lee High School’s band, drill team and cheerleaders; Whitehouse Junior High School’s band; Dogan Middle School’s band; Hogg Middle School’s band; The University of Texas at Tyler’s spirit squads; Hubbard Middle School’s band; Boulter Middle School’s band; T.K. Gorman Catholic School’s band; Moore MST Magnet School’s band and cheerleaders; and Texas College’s band.
The Sharon Shrine Temple Shriners Divan, Oriental Band, director’s staff, Motor Corps, Fire Brigade, Mustang Patrol, Jeep Patrol and Clown Unit; and units from Hella Shrine and Karem Shrine.
CHEER & TWIRLER GROUPS
Capital All Star Cheer, Tyler Golden Girls, Dance-N-Drill, Steppin’ Out and Turning Pointe, Cheer Knowledge, Cherokee-ettes Twirlers,
Custom Truckers of Tyler, Harley-Davidson Club, Rose Lone Star Antique Tractor & Engine Association, U.S. Army jeeps and an antique car owned by Bernis Browning.
Tyler Fire Department Honor Guard, BanCorp South, Pets Fur People, Cross Hot Shot, Wells Fargo Advisors, Ben Wheeler’s Hog Festival bus, East Texas Gymnastics, McDonald’s, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Liberty Tax Service, Chick-fil-A, Tyler Obedience Training Club, East Texas Korean War Veterans, Ms. Texas Senior America, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Full Out Athletics, East Texas Bombers Roller Derby, Rose City Marine Corps League, Terror Nights Haunted House, Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, Tyler Joint Force Battalion and Naval Sea Cadets, Young Girls with a Purpose, Ladies of Color and Tyler/Smith County African American Historical Society.
Unicycle riders, jugglers, B3 Entertainment’s stilt walkers, The Skate Cellar’s skaters, United Freestyle Stunt Team, BMX trick group and XPOGO.