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The 2021 Jacaranda Royal Party. The Jacaranda Festival Committee has announced the time-honoured annual event has opened entries for Jacaranda Queen candidates to people from all gender identities in 2022. Image: Emma Pritchard

Crowning moment in history as festival goes gender neutral

Emma Pritchard

The Grafton Jacaranda Festival is opening the Jacaranda Queen candidacy to all gender identities for the first time in the events 88-year history.

Following the official announcement at the Grafton Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on February 16, which was met with resounding cheers from several participants, candidates will be able to choose their own title including Queen, King or Ambassador should they receive the honour of being crowned in 2022.

Festival Manager Mark Blackadder acknowledged the moment had arrived for the event to move forward with the times while 2021 Jacaranda Queen Hanna Craig said the committee decided the time was right to recognise the diversity of gender identity and update the festival’s program.
“We are an inclusive organisation,” she said.

“We welcome everyone and support safe and diverse spaces, and this move is in line with this approach.
“Accepting someone’s gender, however they identify, is the right step to take.
“Acknowledging this not only supports the festival’s contemporary approach but paves the way for other events to do the same.”

Nominations for the 2022 Grafton Jacaranda Festival candidate program opened on February 18.

Candidates have until March 25 to nominate.

Candidates aged between 18 and 30 are welcome to nominate.

Junior candidates aged between 12 to 14 years are also invited to nominate.

Anyone interested in nominating is welcome to contact the Jacaranda Festival Committee at [email protected] or visit their Facebook page.

The Jacaranda Festival Committee will host a candidate information evening at the Grafton District Services Club (GDSC) on March 18 at 6pm.
The 2022 Grafton Jacaranda Festival will be held between October 28 and November 6 and will include an exciting program of art and entertainment.

Country music star Brooke McClymont was recently announced as the 2022 Grafton Jacaranda Festival Guest of Honour and will perform a free community concert alongside her husband and musical partner Adam Eckersley in Market Square on Jacaranda Thursday.
For the latest information and festival updates, please visit www.jacarandafestival.com

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