Changes Over the Years

This year’s Thomasville Rose Festival joins the ranks of more than 80 other festivals each one unique in it's own way. We wanted to see how things have changed over the years and caught up with a couple of Thomasville natives who shared their memories with us.

The straw on the floor and the smell of the roses and water running.

You won't find any roses in Martha Donovan or Mary Grubbs’ backyard, but these two sisters know a thing or two about growing them

“It takes good soil, lots of plain care, water of course you have to have sunshine,” explains Donovan.

Martha and Mary have been faithful festival goes just about as long as they can remember.

Martha points out she's missed only two years, 1922 and 1923 and for good reason.

“No, because I wasn't born. I waited a whole year, born 1924,” she tells us.

Sister Mary remembers her years as a school principal and incorporating roses and growing roses into the curriculum.

“I think they are one of Gods great creations because there is something about a rose that inspires beauty not only to the eye but beauty in the heart this was the second rose show which was held in May 1923,” recalls Grubbs.

Tom Hill is the curator of the Thomas County Historical Society. During his 32-year tenure he's seen lots of changes.

The start of WWII, the introduction of the parade in 1948 and then there was the unforgettable year 1955.

“The only time we didn't have a rose show per say was 1955 when it froze and all the roses died. So in that particular time this imported roses they built a huge rose tree in the fountain at the court house and didn't have a rose show that day, that year but that is the only time we haven't had a rose competition of roses. The first rose parade featured seven floats and three marching bands,” remembers Hill.

Fast forward to present day, more than thousands of spectators pump thousands of dollars into the economy.

Through all the changes, there is one common thread that ties the years together.

“Well I would think more than any one thing it would be the love of roses itself. Tville has always loved roses we don't know exactly when Tville started being called the city of roses I know as early as 1915 which is well before the first rose show,” adds Hill.

Which takes us back to Martha Donovan and Mary Grubbs who are fond of reciting a poem which in part says if you ever doubt there is a God, look deep into a rose.


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