Shannon Carter and Heidi Madsen talk about their Jacaranda Festival experience

Jacaranda Festival: Australia's oldest floral fest turns 82

RETROFEST, open gardens, art and exhibitions, fun runs, music, dragon boat racing, Queen crowning, busking, river feast, riverlight festival, markets, floats and parades, fireworks... it must be the Jacaranda Festival.

Australia's oldest family floral festival turns 82 this year, but the old girl is speeding up rather than slowing down, with a huge program of events planned. From October 28 to November 5.

Apart from the glorious purple of the jacaranda trees themselves - and the Clarence Valley has jacaranda trees up to 30 metres tall, with 36m crowns, much of the excitement is under the trees.

At last count, there were 42 separate events included in the 2017 Jacaranda Festival program so visitors will definitely have to pick and choose.

A children's morning, markets, local entertainment and a regal evening on Saturday October 28 will open the nine-day program as the new Jacaranda Queen walks the purple carpet and receives her crown under a canopy of jacaranda trees in Market Square.

Next day, Sunday October 29 the square will host Retrofest, a celebration of everything vintage, including entertainment, vintage cars and a Miss Pinup competition.

Jacaranda Thursday on November 2 opens with a free breakfast and continues with the buskers' competition, markets, food stalls, local businesses dressing up and performing skits to win the Jacaranda Gold Cup.

The Riverlight Festival on Friday November 3 in Memorial Park will feature a showcase of local talent with singers, dancers, entertainers and the Pitt Family Circus as well as a photo competition, food options and a fireworks display.

The float parade down Prince St with more than 60 floats on Saturday November 4 will be followed at 5pm by the Jacaranda Festival Feast in Memorial Park.

Interspersed with these major set piece events are many others from concerts and recitals to open gardens, markets, morning and afternoon teas, lunches, and art events.,

The film premiere of Wheelmen of the Clarence and the Jacaranda Festival Fun Run on Sunday November 5 will help runners to work up some nostalgia and work off some energy but Jaca fun will roll on past the official end of the festival with the Jaccarokwizz at the Pelican Playhouse to test your knowledge of all things Jacaranda from November 9 to 19.

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