A small crowd gathered in Prince Street at dawn on October 14 to watch the annual crowning of the famous Grafton Clocktower.
The time-honoured tradition officially commemorates the beginning of the Jacaranda season.
As the crown was carefully and skilfully maneuvered into place shortly after 6am, the blooming purple trees surrounding the iconic landmark were a beautiful reminder that although the 2020 Jacaranda Festival has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the spirit of the occasion continues to blossom strong.
Mark Blackadder, manager of the Jacaranda Festival, said while the popular local event is not going ahead this year, crowning the Clocktower was one tradition that was able to continue in a Covid-19 safe environment, describing it as a way of keeping the Jacaranda spirit alive.
“This is the first time the Festival hasn’t gone ahead in it’s 86-year history,” Mr Blackadder said, adding anything which could be done to ensure the Festival is not forgotten in 2020 as “very important.”
Mr Blackadder also said new lights had been added to the annual display this year, enabling the Grafton Clocktower to be illuminated in a brilliant shade of purple once the sun goes down.
“It’s another way of spreading some joy during a time that the Festival would have normally been held,” he said.
“While the trees are blooming, we still need to recognise and celebrate this as it’s not only a natural spectacle, but it underpins everything the Festival means.”