Garden Expo delivers in spades for 40,000-plus visitors

The Sunshine Coast put on spectacular weather over the weekend making for a great day out for the 40,000-plus visitors to the 34th annual Queensland Garden Expo held at the Nambour Showgrounds from Friday to Sunday.

Event Manager Marion Beazley said the Expo — which is the Sunshine Coast’s biggest annual event — attracted exceptional crowds on all three days and believes the combination of the beautiful weather, 360 exhibitors and the 120-plus presentations on the eight live stages brought the crowds through the gates.

“Last year for the first time, feedback from visitors showed that the stellar line-up of speakers was the main attraction but we don’t underestimate that sunny days contribute to the visitor experience when they attend an outdoor event,” Ms Beazley said.

“We were delighted to once again exceed the 40,000 visitor number and are realistic that there probably isn’t much more room for growth given the limited parking available walking distance from the Showgrounds.

“Speakers such as the ever-popular Costa Georgiadis, Sophie Thomson, Jerry Coleby-Williams, Phil Dudman, Annette McFarlane and for the first time at the Expo, Paul West from River Cottage Australia and now a guest presenter on ABC’s Gardening Australia, attracted massive crowds and reinforced the value of the Expo as a provider of expert advice on all things gardening.

“We were delighted to have Gardening Australia filming onsite on Friday and Saturday and look forward to seeing their segment on 31 August, which is sure to put the Expo — and therefore the Sunshine Coast — firmly on the map with gardeners across Australia.”

Ms Beazley said initial indications showed people from as far afield as Perth, China and New Zealand had journeyed to the event, with coach-loads of gardening enthusiasts also travelling from Victoria and New South Wales to get their horticultural fix.

“Our research shows that over 60 per cent of attendees travel to the Expo from outside of the Sunshine Coast, which equates to about 25,000 visitors who contribute to the estimated injection of over $8 million in economic benefit to the region,” Ms Beazley said.

“While we get a high percentage of repeat visitors every year, initial feedback indicates that this year we had more first timers at the event which is encouraging for the ongoing growth of the event.

“It is the largest sub-tropical gardening event in Australia, boasting the biggest speaker program of any gardening event in the country.”

The Queensland Garden Expo is an annual event held every July. To find out more, please visit www.qldgardenexpo.com.au.

EXPO EXTRA — Queensland Garden Expo in numbers
  • 3 days of gardening bliss from 13-15 July at Nambour Showgrounds.
  • 8 speaker stages
  • 34 years of Queensland Garden Expo with the first event being held in 1985 — a one-day event with 30 exhibitors, 300 visitors, 5 workshops and a Plant Clinic.
  • 400 hay bales to demarcate areas and keep the kids entertained in the all-new fantastic maze!
  • 120 free lectures and demonstrations on the speaker program.
  • 360-plus exhibitors and displays including 55 nurseries selling 40,000 plants.
  • 5,000 seedlings given away every year at the Coffee Cup Refill Station where visitors can take their empty coffee cups and get it filled with potting mix and a small plant to take home.
  • 17,000 reusable ‘Life is a Garden’ purple shopping bags to ensure there are no single-use plastic bags in site!
  • 26,000 from outside the Sunshine Coast which increases the region’s population by about 10 per cent for the weekend.
  • 40,000-plus attendees in total across the three-day event.
  • $8 million of economic impact, which encompasses both visitor spending as well as the impact of expo exhibitors travelling from outside the area.