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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Dress completely covered with live rose blooms was worn in the Texas Rose Festival of 1934
This dress, completely covered with fresh rose blooms, was worn in the 1934 Festival Photo courtesy Texas Rose Festival

Texas Rose Festival: A Legacy of Roses

The Texas Rose Festival blossomed into existence in the city of Tyler in 1933. Inspired by a new agricultural industry and the beauty of the rose, civic-minded leaders and ladies of the Tyler Garden Club created the Texas Rose Festival to promote the rose industry, build tourism, celebrate volunteerism, and instill community pride. The four-day festival offers enchanting ceremonial events: the Queen's Coronation, the Rose Show, the Queen's Tea, and the Rose Parade, all amidst a backdrop of brilliant roses.

Rose growing in Tyler began on a small scale around the turn of the century after a plague wiped out the area's peach crops. Rose plantings increased each year, and business boomed. Only rose bushes were harvested, leaving billions of blooms in the fields to die. A ready market was found for this "byproduct."

Visitors to the 1933 Tyler Rose Festival were treated to a grand ceremonial coronation, presented in the style of an operetta. The festival's floral parade showcased rose-covered floats built by artisans for merchants and clubs. Airplanes sprinkled rose pedals over the entire parade route. Over the years, the annual festival, held the third weekend of October, has grown much larger. It now includes an art show; a car show; doll, bear and toy shows; an arts and crafts fair; and symphony concerts in the park.

Tyler roses have also become famous. In 1968, Tyler "Apache Belle" roses were given to Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, which now grow in the White House rose garden. A garden of 300 Tyler rose bushes was located adjacent to the Texas state capitol in Austin.

This well documented legacy includes a 33-page report, more than 30 photographs,nine coronation programs, a video, posters, postcards, newspaper clippings, a golden anniversary book, and a picture book about Tyler.

Originally submitted by: Ralph M. Hall, Representative (4th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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