The annual two-day second spell of the Flower Festival (also known as the Winter Festival) began at Yercaud on Saturday.

The highlight of the festival was an exhibition of more than one lakh flowers. It was inaugurated by District Collector K. Maharabushanam. More than 30 varieties of Chrysanthemum, Gladiolus, Carnation, Roses and Anthurium were displayed in the flower show at the Anna Park.

Vegetable arrangements and models made of chocolates were added attractions for the tourists who thronged the flower festival. An exhibition of herbs and plants that have medicinal value was also organised.

Close to 25 babies took part in the healthy baby competition, dog show and boat race for tourists (couples), presspersons and officials were the highlights of the first day of the festival.

Government bus service was arranged for interior tourist spots such as Thalaicholai where a famous temple and view point are located. Traditional dance and music were the other highlights of the festival. Members of women self-help groups sold variety rice for Rs. 10 for the benefit of tourists.

While addressing the gathering, the Collector said that proposals are underway for making Yercaud more attractive with added attractions such as installation of rope car service, laying a walkers path around the Yercaud Lake and constructing shops in Yercaud Town.

“Steps are taken to improve the basic amenities for tourist. Work is underway for laying a new road for a stretch of two kilometre through Danishpet at an estimate Rs. 2.5 crore to make access easier for tourists from Mysore to Yercaud. On completion of the road tourists from Mysore can reach Yercaud without entering Salem city”, he added.

The Collector also made an appeal to people of Yercaud and tourists to avoid use of plastic items and leaving them astray.

Newly elected Yercaud MLA P. Saroja was not present during the inaugural of the flower show but later joined the function at the auditorium. She alleged that she was not properly invited for the event though it was conducted in her constituency.

Citing this as the reason for her inability to take part in the inauguration, she asked the officials concerned to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

Omalur MLA Palbaki C. Krishnan, District Revenue Officer S. Selvaraj, Commissioner of Police (Salem City) K.C. Mahali, Superintendent of Police (Rural) R. Sakthivel and officials were also present.