Ficifolia snuggles up to Drouin for love-themed festival

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Drouin’s annual Ficifolia Festival has begun, and this year will explore a Valentine’s Day-timed theme of “I Love Drouin.”

Ficifolia Festival committee president Jessica O’Donnell said this year’s festival was about showing Drouin to those who are not familiar with the town and what it has to offer.

“The festival is about Drouin residents banding together and showing their community spirit. We are a small town but a tight-knit community,” she said.

“There are so many new people who have recently arrived in Drouin. We wanted to put the spotlight on Drouin and showcase everything within our town, including the various groups and clubs the town has for the newcomers.

“I began living in Drouin three years ago, after moving from Traralgon. I fell in love with the festival. There is really nothing like it.”

The Ficifolia Festival was started in 1988 by a group of Drouinites who wanted to celebrate the bloom of the flowering ficifolia gums on the town’s main street.

That group decided to hold a festival to celebrate the flowering during the second week of February, which would attract extra people to town and drive business.

Every year the festival includes a street parade, which is seen by thousands of local spectators.

Once the parade concludes, Civic Park plays host to the annual “Party in the Park”.

Ficifolia’s Party in the Park features a series of market stalls, offers musical entertainment, food and drinks, as well as activities which are fun for the whole family.

Ms O’Donnell said she hoped this year’s cooler forecast would mean a greater number of people would attend.

“We had over 5,000 people attend last year’s festival due last year’s hot summer weather. We are hoping that this year’s festival can attract around 7,000 people.”

Ms O’Donnell said she hopes people from outside of Drouin will be attracted to the festival.

“We are aiming to attract people from all over, including from the other side of Melbourne.”

The Ficifolia Festival kicked off with the Drouin Bowls Club Competition last Friday and will conclude on Sunday 15 February with the Drouin Combined Church Service.

The full festival guide can be found at ficifoliafestival.org.au.

The Ficifolia Festival kicked off with the Drouin Bowls Club Competition last Friday and will conclude on Sunday 15 February with the Drouin Combined Church Service.

The full festival guide can be found at ficifoliafestival.org.au.

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