Hello blossoms, Pat's our Jacaranda Guest of Honour
WALKING down the street on Jacaranda Thursday, it's hard to miss Dame Edna flaunting her way down the street.
But what the visitors to town may not know, is the man behind the character, Pat Connelly, has had a deep love of Jacaranda since he arrived in Grafton, and has been dressing up as the Dame Edna since 1985.
Now, Mr Connelly is being honoured by the Jacaranda Festival Committee and has been named Guest of Honour for the 2017 festival.
"It was a lovely surprise, I never ever thought of it," he said.
When he came to Grafton, Mr Connelly worked with NRCC and over the years it always put on a big display and he took part with the people from work.
"Eventually I started to doing Dame Edna and it caught on," he said.
"We used to put some- thing on at the council, all the business houses used to... you put on a display, whatever it was that year."
When his second life as Dame Edna began, Mr Connelly was dressing up for Australiana theme.
"I just did it one off and then someone said to me next year, 'are you doing Dame Edna'," he said.
While Mr Connelly has never had the pleasure of meeting the real Dame Edna, he did get to see her final performance in Sydney a few years ago.
For Mr Connelly, it's the fun of the Jacaranda Festival that makes it such a great experience for him.
"It brings people out, I've known people that are all very conservative all year, but at Jacaranda they get out and have fun," he said.
"It brings out the fun in people... but on that weekend, particularly on the Thursday, it's the fun, the young and old they get out.
"As long as I can keep going, I'm going to keep doing Jacaranda."
Jacaranda is not the only thing Mr Connelly is passionate about.
He volunteers with the youth program Midnight Basketball and is the oldest person still taking to the hockey field in Grafton at the age of 77.