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Newly elected Grafton Jacaranda Festival president Jeff Smith. Image: (File pic) Lynne Mowbray.

Change of guard for Jacaranda committee

Lynne Mowbray | The election of a new Jacaranda Festival management committee took place at last week’s Grafton Jacaranda Festival Inc. AGM which was held at the Grafton District Services Club. Clarence Valley Council Patron Mayor Jim Simmons was in attendance to assist with the election of the new committee. Newly elected president Jeff Smith, said that he made a comment at last week’s meeting that when you Google ‘the oldest floral festival in Australia’, bang -we’re there, but if you Google ‘the best floral festival in Australia’, we are nowhere to be seen; and that has to change. “We don’t just want to be the oldest floral festival – we want to be the best,” Mr Smith said. “We’re going to do that by keeping the best of the traditions and gradually tweaking it (which we started to do a couple of years ago) to be more visitor/tourist friendly. “We’re gradually changing the culture and opening it up to local talented people artists, musicians, dancing; we’ve got the talent here we just need to allow them in to do some of these events. “Let’s open this up, while keeping the core traditions and that’s part of what’s unique. “We’re starting to find that young people are starting to get more involved and they’re saying, ‘this is cool again’. “We’re also seeing past members that have felt a bit jaded, saying ‘yeh, I want to be part of this again’; so I think that’s an endorsement,” he said. Mr Smith said that he went up to the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Festival over the weekend and was impressed with the way it is being run. “I took photos and I spoke to volunteers and committee members and did a lot of research,” Mr Smith said. “I thought right, we’re doing a lot of stuff right and we can learn a lot from these other festivals, without becoming the same. “We need to keep what’s unique – and that’s our selling point to visitors. The newly elected Management Committee members are: President – Jeff Smith; Senior Vice President – Kristen Smith; Vice President – Nick Buckler; Treasurer – Peg James; Secretary – Leanne Williams; Committee – Leanne Smith, Carol Smith and Wendy Gibbs. Outgoing Committee – Kelle Murphy, Scott Baker and Helen Templeton were thanked for their contribution to the committee.