The Highlands 57th Tulip Time festival has begun.
The event was officially opened on Tuesday morning, September 12, with a free sausage sizzle from the Bowral Lions Club and speeches from Steve Rosa, Mayor Ken Halstead, and Red Kite ambassador Susanne Latimore.
Red Kite, a support service for children and young people with cancer, is the festival’s official charity partner this year.
Ms Latimore’s son Manning was ten when he was diagnosed with an aggressive sarcoma.
She said the charity provided essential, practical support for families in need.
Visitors can purchase a red kite to plant in the garden during the festival, with all the funds raised going toward the charity.
The 2017 event is offering free entry for the opening few days.
Most of the tulips in Corbett Gardens have not yet bloomed due to unfavourable weather conditions.
The council will offer free entry to all visitors until the tulips put on their annual spectacular display of colour.
Destination Southern Highlands tourism manager, Steve Rosa, said it would likely be a few days before the majority of tulips come into bloom.
“We’ve seen a delay in flowering due to an unusually dry and cool winter,” he said.
“And while the tulips are slow to bloom, the annuals and other plantings as part of this year’s ‘Under the Sea’ theme are in full bloom”.
“I was talking to our counterpart in Canberra yesterday – Floriade – and they’re having the same problem.”
The tulips are expected to be blooming in time for the weekend.
Some of the attractions during the festival include: face painting and balloon magic, the historic diesel train journey, Red Kite puppet shows, the street parade at 2:30pm on Saturday, September 16; the sunset cinema screening of Finding Dory on Friday, September 22; and music performances throughout the two weeks.
A full list of events is included on the official program, available at https://www.southern-highlands.com.au/tulip-time