New look for traditional celebration of purple petals
EIGHTY-five years and still going strong, Grafton's Jacaranda Festival has been given a brand new look for 2019.
Now the oldest floral festival in Australia, the 10-day event (October 25-November 3) attracts tourists from around NSW, Australia and even overseas as Grafton disappears under a
purple haze of jacaranda flowers.
And while the festival does have a new look this time around, event manager Mark Blackadder said the fresh approach didn't stray from the well-established format of the event, but rather streamlined and enhanced it for the growing visitor market.
"The Grafton Jacaranda Festival has a legacy in its floral tribute and crowning of the Queens, but it's also evolving into an arts and cultural event that showcases the best of the region as well as drawing in interstate and international acts," Blackadder explained.
"People come here to see the beautiful spectacle of the flowering Jacaranda trees but they also want to stay, be entertained and experience something a little bit different.
"We've honoured what the festival means to the people of Grafton and the Clarence Valley, but also recognised that its longevity and growth lays in visitors from outside the region."
Entertainment over the 10 days includes a huge musical line-up with the iconic JACKAROC all-day festival and The McClymonts acoustic night, as well as the traditional Queen crowning, Retrofest, and float procession.
He said the first weekend of the festival would be huge, starting with The Caringa Ball on Friday, October 25.
"While the main marquee is sold out we've opened up more tickets in the Garden Party, which includes a gourmet grazing table, access to the Volkers Bar, and of course a huge dance floor to enjoy the live music," Blackadder said.
The town's Market Square is the focus for the weekend with the legacy event and subject of a number of documentaries, the Queen crowning, taking place on Saturday night and the ever-popular Retrofest showing off
all things vintage on Sunday.
"Jacaranda Queens are ambassadors of Grafton and the Grafton Jacaranda Festival and we want everyone to come out and support the candidates who work so hard for what they do," he said.
"The Retrofest has also become a signature event on the calendar celebrating all things 50s and 60s with beautiful old cars and bikes, hula hoops, Brylcreem and retro-inspired market stalls."
Jacaranda Thursday promises to be the biggest for decades featuring a free breakfast in the morning and three stages throughout the city running talent contests, best dressed competitions, and music by the Col Finley Band, Big River Rockers, D'Boyzos, Heckle and Jive and the Big River Blues Band.
The day will be topped off by an acoustic concert with Grafton's own country music trio The McClymonts at the Saraton Theatre.
The final weekend kicks off with a day of culture in Market Square on Friday and the return of JACAROK at the Memorial Park River Stage on Saturday in conjunction with the festival's RiverFEAST, providing over 11 hours of local and diverse music across two stages.
This year's festival line-up has been released through a 72-page commemorative program covering all official and affiliate events as well as highlighting key activities, information and sponsors.
The program will be available to purchase for $2 at locations throughout the Clarence Valley or free to download from the Festival website.
For more information and full event details or to book tickets to any event: go to jacarandafestival.com.
The 2019 Grafton Jacaranda Festival takes place from Friday, October 25, to Sunday, November, 3.