Rose Macarons at Sweet Cacao Chocolates in Thomasville, Georgia

Rose Macarons at Sweet Cacao Chocolates in Thomasville, Georgia

Savor Something Different During the Thomasville Rose Show

You can do more than just look at roses at the Thomasville Rose Show & Festival, you can eat them, too! Find out how with these insider tips.

Any given spring weekend in South Georgia, you can find one adorable outdoor festival after another. To find the one that pairs cool experiences, great music and plenty of unique food opportunities, you have to travel to Thomasville for the annual Rose Show and Festival.

Thomasville Rose Show. Photo by Seeing Southern Photography
Thomasville Rose Show. Photo by Seeing Southern Photography

This year actually marks the Rose Show's 98th year. With longevity like that, they have to find new ways to make this classic symbol of floral luxury exciting and well…worth admiring enough to travel for. Leave it to Thomasville to find a way to take the rose to the next level, or rather, the collection of downtown restaurants to step up to the “plate.” Because, in fact, 90% of roses are edible, Thomasville's restaurants have come up with creative ways to showcase the rose in either a dish, dessert or cocktail.

Travel to Thomasville during this year’s Rose Show, April 26-27, 2019, and you can wander through the award-winning downtown, popping in and out of restaurants, wine tasting rooms and lounges, having your curiosity met on “what exactly does a rose taste like?” The creative chefs and barkeeps have challenged themselves, infusing roses, rose essence, rose color and rose petals into anything from an original cocktail shaken right in front of your eyes to a homemade Mexican flan.

How to Taste Roses

Sweets

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a champagne cupcake with rose icing at Sweetly Shealy, a Madagascar vanilla cupcake layered with rose petal icing, or vanilla-rose macarons at Sweet Cacao Chocolates. To find the flan, head over to Frida's Mexican Restaurant.

Cocktails for the Thomasville Rose Show & Festival at Chophouse On The Bricks. Photo by Eddie Sanchez
Cocktails for the Thomasville Rose Show & Festival at Chophouse On The Bricks. Photo by Eddie Sanchez

Cocktails

For something with a little kick to it, try the Rose City Cocktail with vodka and rose water at Liam's Lounge or the Knockout Rose’ sangria at the Farmer's Daughter Tasting Room. There are other little hidden gems about downtown, such as rose flavored cocktails at Sweet Grass Dairy, Chophouse On The Bricks and SoHo. You can also find a delectable Rose’ wine at Hubs and Hops.

You don't have to wait for happy hour; these drinks are available starting at 11 a.m., which is when most dining locations open for the day.

Don't Miss a Thing with These Insider Tips

Jonah's Fish & Grits in Thomasville, Georgia
Jonah's Fish & Grits in Thomasville, Georgia

When & Where to Eat

Visitors come from all over the Southeast to enjoy the Rose Show, so expect downtown Thomasville to be busy. Lunch time is crunch time with seating limited, so expect a wait from noon until 2 p.m. If you eat a big breakfast, you will be right on time to get a table at just about any restaurant of your choosing.

Have dinner at one of the many local favorites such as Jonah's Fish & Grits, George & Louie's or SASS, none of which require reservations. Or, just pick a spot that's hopping; we guarantee it's good.

Where to Stay

We suggest you head to Thomasville on Friday and plan to stay overnight; two nights would be better if you want to hit all the hot spots.

Hotels

Several hotels in Thomasville still have rooms available, so look online the Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, Best Western Plus, Baymont, Quality Inn, or Rose City Inn to get a comfortable place to lay your head.

B&Bs

There are also some B&B’s, such as The Paxton and Thomasville Bed & Breakfast, and even a plantation turned overnight inn called South Eden.

Where to Start on Friday

Thomasville Rose Show
Thomasville Rose Show
Rose Show

Friday, April 26 is the big day for the roses to debut under the totally enclosed, air-conditioned tent Rose Tent. Literally hundreds of hand-cut stunning roses are on display, each one more perfect than the one before.

This is the one event where the Queen trumps the King when it comes to awards. Get there for the ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. and see Miss Georgia, the local Rose Queen and the Mayor cut the actual ribbon that signals the start of the show.

Shopping

Then, mosey down Main Street, which is actually called Broad Street, and let the sampling begin. Along the way, you have to stop at several cool boutiques that offer anything from luxury leather goods to collectibles and antiques. That’s the magic of Thomasville.

Thomasville Rose Parade. Photo by Seeing Southern Photography
Thomasville Rose Parade. Photo by Seeing Southern Photography
Parade

When you finish up, it’ll be just in time for the parade, so walk outside onto Broad Street and enjoy. Legends says it's never rained on the Rose Parade, and why would it?

Street Dance & Fireworks

After all the floats and marching bands pass by, head north toward the historic courthouse and get your boogie on with the ever-energetic, never-say-die Swingin’ Medallions, live on the outdoor stage. You’re going to have to clear a space on the dance floor, i.e., the brick streets, when they start playing "Double Shot of My Baby’s Love." The locals go crazy for that one.

Make sure you don’t head to the hotel too early, or you’ll miss the fireworks show that signals the end of a rosy day, right overhead as the concert ends.

Thomasville Rose Garden
Thomasville Rose Garden

What to See on Saturday

On Saturday, sleep in a little, and then grab a filling breakfast.

Shopping

Now it’s time to stroll through Paradise, rather Paradise Park, to enjoy artisan-made products, handmade crafts and food trucks. Leave your car parked downtown in any of the free parking spots (YES, THEY ARE ALL FREE), then hop on the open-air trolley to enjoy a breezy ride to all the flowery events going on. Lucky for you, the trolley is also free.

Car & Truck Show

For the hot rod lover, head back downtown to the historic courthouse. The Southeast’s largest car and truck show is up and down both sides of the street.

Flower Shows

Linger over more flower shows, such as the Orchids on Parade, Civic Garden Club Flower Show and the Standard Flower Show. Again, make use of the trolley to get from A to B. Maps and schedules are available just about everywhere, or you can stop into the Visitors Center to get the local scoop and clear directions.

Lapham-Patterson House in Thomasville, Georgia
Lapham-Patterson House in Thomasville, Georgia
Sightseeing

Other things to see and do in Thomasville include fascinating tours at historic Pebble Hill Plantation, the Lapham-Patterson House, the Thomasville History Center and the Jack Hadley Black History Museum. And what’s a trip to Thomasville without seeing the famous Thomasville Rose Garden with its 1500+ rose bushes? It’s a flower wonderland.

Or, bring it down a notch. Simply strolling through some local neighborhoods will introduce you to some authentic Victorian and antebellum architecture that Thomasville is also known for. For these, you’ll have to drive to their locations, the trolley only travels the downtown.

Finale

In the evening, grab a bite to eat and another delicious rose-centric cocktail, then head to The Ritz Amphitheater at 8 p.m. for the Rose Fest Finale, which is a free outdoor concert featuring Trae Pierce & the T Stones. Another fast-paced night of dancing awaits, or you can just chill out and get your fill of people watching.

For 98 years, roses have put Thomasville on the map. The folks in this endearing Southern town say don’t just stop and smell them, stop and savor them!

Published: April 2019
Written by: Bonnie Hayes