Countdown Under Way After Kicking Off Season
Story By DAYNA WORCHELEND
The countdown to the 79th annual Texas Rose Festival began Friday at Willow Brook Country Club with an excited group of volunteers and officials helping kick off events that will lead to the crowning of this year's Rose Queen Haley Anderson.
The theme of this year's festival is "Indochine," a celebration of all things Asia.
This year's Texas Rose Festival will take place Oct. 18-21.
Tim Alexander, president of the Texas Rose Festival Association, thanked volunteers, corporate sponsors and the news media for helping promote the festival during a kickoff celebration Friday night.
"We are very grateful that our community is filled with such big-hearted supporters that are willing to give of their time and talents to help the festival," Alexander said. "We could not continue the tradition without such invaluable support."
Joy Ramey, duchess of the Texas Rose Festival, and Haley Anderson, this year's queen, also spoke to the group.
"The Texas Rose Festival ... reaffirms to the world that our city, Tyler, is unique in that we are the home of America's national flower," she said.
Ms. Anderson also thanked the volunteers who gave their time and money to make the event a success.
"Your efforts of promoting the commerce and tourism of Tyler have a significant impact on our local economy," she said.
Shari Rickman, Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau vice president and general manager, said in March that the rose industry is a huge tourist draw.
"More than 108,000 visitors came into the Tyler area during rose season in 2011," she said. "The economic impact for 2011 during rose season, which lasted about three weeks, was about $2,254,000. That's just in rose season, not all-year long," Ms. Rickman said.