The 2022 Bloom Festival is blossoming across the Great Southern, with highly anticipated events coming up across Katanning, Kojonup and Cranbrook. The six-week festival celebrating the arrival of spring in the region kicked off nearly two weeks ago with a stacked program of events throughout the shires of the Great Southern. The festival, coordinated by Great Southern Treasures, involves more than 50 events across 26 Great Southern towns and aims to highlight the unique character of the region, with as many as 8000 visitors expected from all over Australia. Cranbrook’s Gillamii Centre will host the Wetlands and Wildflowers exhibition from October 1-9 — a week-long showcase of the region’s wetlands and flowers, with specimen displays and art by local school students. Frankland River artist Alyssa Petrofes’ solo exhibition, Bloom, runs from October 2-7 at the Frankland River Community Resource Centre. A multi-medium exhibit of floral artworks, Petrofes uses recycled woods and materials to create her pieces. On October 2, at an event called A Walk on the Wild Side, wildflower enthusiasts will take guests on a free guided wildflower discovery tour at Boot Rock Reserve at the Broomehill Golf Course. Katanning will be the scene of a range of events over the next month, with Katanning Town Hall hosting a bloom pet creation workshop on October 4 and cupcake decorating evening on October 7. The Shire of Katanning will put on a family movie night on October 1 under the stars in the Town Square, with the movie yet to be announced. Katanning’s Lakeside Eco Centre will run educational walks on the use of stormwater to create wildlife habitats, with a yarn-bombing display free to explore in Piesse Park. Visitors to the Great Southern will be challenged to name the native flowers at each tractor along the Horsepower Highway, with prizes on the line until October 16. Further east, events include a cultural tour of Nowanup in Gairdner on October 8, and the sold-out Djilba Blooms in Banjelungup long-table lunch and wildflower walk in Bremer Bay. Kojonup is a hotspot for this year’s Bloom Festival, with renowned London-trained florist Sally Wilson leading a native wreath-making class on October 21 and the sold-out Glenlossie Long Table Luncheon benefitting the Royal Flying Doctor Service on October 29. On the weekend of October 29 and 30, seven private gardens around Kojonup will open to the public. The gardens on display will include Eric and Cathy Wright’s English-style garden Pine Avenue, and a water-saving succulent-themed garden La Hacienda, created by Mary Jones. Kojonup’s Kodja Place Cultural Centre, currently the site of a herbarium display of local wildflowers, will host the festival’s official closing event, Spring has Sprung, on October 23. From 10.30am to 4.30pm, the Bloom Festival will culminate in a family fun day featuring mini golf, markets, local food and live music from Dilip ‘n the Davs. Kodja Place manager Jill Watkin said the closing event would be a celebration of the Great Southern, with a group of local bush poets to perform stories of the region. “It’s basically yarning and it tells stories of the country,” she said. “And it’s quite old-school but very entertaining, and these guys, they know how to how to tell a tale.” Spring has Sprung will be entry by donation, with all funds raised to be split fifty-fifty between funding the Albany radiation machine project and future Kodja Place activities. Ms Watkin said the event would help The Kodja Place, which celebrates its 20th birthday this month, continue its motto of “one story, many voices”. “We are the only centre in WA, and we believe also in Australia, where the Indigenous and settler stories are told side by side, which makes us absolutely unique,’ she said. “And ‘one story, many voices’ is a tribute to that because when Kodja Place was built by the community with support from the Shire, the community did all the fundraising 20-odd years ago and it’s still very much community-driven and community run, with involvement from our local Noongar people who are part and parcel of it.” For details, visit greatsoutherntreasures.com.au/bloom.