New Trends Reporter –
The 2018 edition of the Mangaung Mayoral Rose Parade was a sight to marvel as a variety of attractions paraded during a procession through the streets of Bloemfontein on Friday (27 Oct).
A litany of sparkingly-polished vintage cars, eye-catching bikers, elegant Mini-Coopers, a rose-laden donkey-drawn cart, colourful stilt walkers, energetically singing school children and the ever-so-popular Mangaung Marimba Band added an interesting flavour to the procession. Mangaung Executive Mayor, Olly Mlamleli, also took part in the procession in a classy top-down Mercedes Benz.
The parade began at the train station, proceeded along Charlotte Maxeke before turning into St Andrews then Markgraaff before following Zastron and finally turning into Aliwal Streets on the way to Hertzog Park where an address was made by the mayor.
“The Mangaung Mayoral Rose Parade has a long history dating back to the 70s. We want to make it bigger and better to such an extent that it becomes a tourist attraction on its own and be able to meaningfully contribute to the province’s economy,” Mlamleli told delegates.
According to the mayor, plans are afloat for exchange visits with organisers of flower festivals in California as well as those from Madeira in order to borrow from their experiences.
“Next year we intend to send a delegation to California sometime in January to learn about hosting big festivals. We will also invite guests from California and Madeira so that they can help grow this festival as they have experience in hosting some of the biggest flower festivals in the world,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mlamleli has urged society to shy away from gender violence and instead, seek to build unity and harmony in families.
“The rose is the queen of flowers and Bloemfontein is the City of Roses. So as we approach the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence next month, I encourage all men to give their women roses and not scars and ‘blue eyes’,” the mayor urged.
Meanwhile, Mlamleli, Mangaung Municipality Speaker, Mxolisi Siyonzana, Rose Festival Organiser, Risna Opperman and other distinguished guests proceeded to take part in the ceremonial planting of roses.