Spotlight | Kate Scott, Carnival of Flowers
insight into how this massive festival comes together each year
everyone is ‘busy’ these days – but kate scott truly is really busy.
The Event Coordinator of the Carnival of Flowers, Kate oversees an annual 10-day program with over 60 events, including the parade and the Food & Wine Festival. And although we know there are many, many incredible people who have a hand in bringing spring to life each year in Toowoomba, everything ultimately goes through Kate. We’re tired just thinking about it.
We sat down with the organisational goddess to talk about how Carnival actually comes together, how she spends her downtime, and where you should park in September.
Name: Kate Scott
KNOWN FOR: Relocating her office to the park on a whim
Occupation: Event Coordinator, Toowoomba carnival of flowers
Born: emerald, queensland
Local since: 2006
first things first: why Toowoomba?
Toowoomba is a bloomin' lovely city, so the decision to move here wasn't a hard one 13 years ago. It has everything you could want and it's well placed for when I visit my friends and family across south-east Queensland and central Queensland – and for when they visit me. Given everything the Toowoomba region has to offer, I'm never short of visitors!
What do you do with the carnival of flowers?
I walked into my first Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers event back in 2007 and instantly felt connected. A few years later in early 2015 I found myself sitting in a hotel room in Rome at 5am, in my pyjamas, wearing lipstick and a fancy silk scarf, being interviewed via Skype for the Carnival Event Support Officer role with Toowoomba Regional Council. I got the job and threw myself into the Carnival world. I then stepped up into the acting Coordinator role in August 2016 when it became available and secured the full time role in January 2017.
Carnival has a very special role to play in the community and there are some hefty expectations from locals of what Carnival means to them. I like the challenge of embracing this and looking at how the events can be inclusive of all aspects of our community and still emphasise flowers... everything has to relate to flowers. I am really focused on our brand and our purpose and work really hard to ensure that our branding is strong and we fully embrace it. I sign off my emails with ‘Yours Florally’ and say ‘Hello Petals’ a lot – these little things embed who we are constantly.
Toowoomba is a real hot-bed of talented driven people. Each year we're able to offer our 250,000+ Carnival visitors something new and unique, and that's because of the depth of the skills and talents in our community. How many events can head into their 70th year offering such a great mix of perennial favourites and fresh annual experiences?
how does the carnival actually come together? it kind of seems impossible…
The Carnival team sits within Toowoomba Regional Council’s Tourism and Event section. Three of us work full-time all year round on the event and we have two other staff that assist with logistics and event delivery closer to September. Our graphic designer also sits within the Tourism team and does all of our graphics, branding designs and publications .
I am doing work now for the 2020 event already. Last year, the 10 day program of Carnival included 66 events and activations, with Council delivering 22 flagship events and marketing support to over 40 community events. We also delivered 54 tour departures. We have some key external suppliers that support our team, including a tourism group packaging specialist who helps the inbound coach groups (around 170 each year) with free itineraries and logistic support. We have a PR guru who works our messaging out into our key drive markets and we have a team of logistical wizards who pull together all the suppliers, stallholders, floral designers and demonstrators for the Heritage Bank Festival of Food & Wine site. I oversee all of this work and all of the finances come through our office too.
What does an average day look like for you?
My days include a lot of phone calls, crazy amounts of emails, marketing and tourism strategies, sponsorship negotiations, setting event directions, driving my team crazy with my random ideas, and creatively fixing problems.
What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?
Weekend are for having some regroup time usually. Brekkie at home, while the washing machine earns its keep, then I head downtown to do a bit of retail therapy through Grand Central (including the worst chore of the week – grocery shopping), then grab a coffee at Ground Up (as a reward for grocery shopping) before heading to Toowoomba Flower Market for some bunches of happiness.
Only a Toowoomba local would know…
Laurel Lane is the best place to park in September when you visit Laurel Bank Park.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
PERK UP: Anywhere that sells bunches of flowers that I can buy and smother my house in.
RELAX: Pottering around my garden and getting my hands dirty.
EAT: Gips’s, absolutely love the setting and food.
INDULGE: Baker’s Duck, all the flaky pastry goodness
SHOP: True Blue Garden Centre, great variety and advice.
CATCH UP: Ground Up – I always run into someone I know there.
BE INSPIRED: Laurel Bank Park, I love seeing how people utilise the park spaces.
Keep an eye on the Carnival of Flowers website to learn more about this year’s event.