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Free State Shows and Events

Mangaung Rose Festival

About Us

Translated, Bloemfontein means “fountain of flowers”; however because this capital city is host to the annual rose festival, it has been called the “City of Roses.” Bloemfontein, or Mangaung in the local language, is also the judicial capital of South Africa which makes it one of South Africa’s three capital cities.

In the early 70’s a couple of council members discussed ways to market Bloemfontein to the world. They realized that roses grew very well in the city and October is a particular good month to showcase this wonderful queen of all flowers. And so the Rose festival was born in 1976.

Over the years the centre of the festival moved between various locations to where it is now – a festival for the whole city with almost every shopping mall playing a part in the festivities. Various activities happen across town and range from mass flowers, a cut-rose competition, several pageants (Miss Rose, Miss RoseBud, Grandmother and GrandFather Rose), open air markets and many more. Special performances are normally underway at the various theatres, including Sand du Plessis.
The gardens of the city Bloemfontein and its residents are particularly beautiful in October. The Free State weather lends itself to abundant vibrant roses. The very cold winters and warm long summers is ideal for the growth of roses and this result in a display of roses that is at its best towards the latter part of October and early November. The date of the festival is normally the third week of October to accommodate the weather patterns.

The lovely people of the city open the best gardens to the public for viewing, while competitions take place to improve gardens all around the city. Bloemfontein residents take great pride in their gardens creating sanctuaries of vivid colours, water and soothing greenery, quite fitting for The City of Roses.
This decision taken years ago to create this unique festival have placed Bloemfontein in the minds of people (residents and visitors) on the flower map and made it a destination of choice for visitors from around the world. Join the thousands of local and international visitors who visit Bloemfontein every year to experience this truly awesome spectacle, The Mangaung Rose Festival.
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