Latest News

Jacaranda Festival president Jeff Smith addressed those attending the public information meeting, in the lead up to this year’s Jacaranda Festival. The meeting was held at the Grafton Hotel on Tuesday evening last week. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Jacaranda information night

Lynne Mowbray |

The Grafton Jacaranda Festival held a public information evening in the lead up to this year’s Jacaranda Festival, on Tuesday February 12 at the Grafton Hotel.

Festival president Jeff Smith introduced the 2019 Jacaranda Festival committee members: vice-president – Nicholas Buckler; secretary – Leanne Williams; executive members – Wendy Gibbs and Leanne Smith, and Festival manager Mark Blackadder. An apology was given for treasurer Peg James, who could not attend the meeting.  

Mr Smith shared the committees vision for the Jacaranda Festival – ‘To create a distinctive, nationally acclaimed festival that pays tribute to Grafton’s Jacarandas and delivers on the Jacaranda Spirit that is beautiful, welcoming, fun, creative and a little bit crazy.’

A power point presentation set out the planned changes and outlined some of what has happened behind the scenes, in the lead up to this year’s event:

  • The free community events for locals which include; the Children’s morning, Queen Crowning, Jacaranda Thursday, Retro Fest, Float Procession and RiverLight, will continue in the programme.
  • New ticketed events are planned to attract both locals and tourists, to offset the cost of running the free community events.
  • Destination NSW update: 10 Asian bloggers and influencers visited Grafton on Jacaranda Thursday 2018, with DNSW capturing photographs and video of the festival for future marketing.
  • Queen candidate update: There have been 17 junior candidate expressions of interest with 14 junior candidate applications already received. Expressions of interest for the 2019 Queen candidates, opened on Tuesday February 12.
  • The 85th Jacaranda Festival will see a reunion of past Queens, Princesses and Matrons of Honour.
  • In the planning stages: There will be an event in Grafton’s See Park, a special ‘anniversary’ float (in the float parade), a ‘feast’ in Memorial Park and ‘carnival’ in Market Square – both on the same night. This year’s RiverFeast will run at both lunch and dinner time, and an updated website with online ticketing for all events.
  • This year there will be a ‘limited release’, 85th anniversary merchandise for sale, which has been designed by local artist Jaz Grady.
  • Festival Guest of Honour this year will be Samantha McClymont, who will also co-compare at the Queen crowning; and a special concert featuring The McClymont’s will be held at the Saraton Theatre, on Jacaranda Thursday night.

Festival manager Mark Blackadder said that the committee were very happy with the turnout to the Grafton Jacaranda information evening.  

“We were very impressed to see that people had travelled from as far as Glen Innes, to attend the evening,” Mr Blackadder said.

“There was certainly a buzz of enthusiasm in the room with everybody wanting to be involved in some capacity.  

“New membership and renewal of memberships on the night was excellent.  

“We are certainly very excited for a phenomenal 85th anniversary festival,” he said.

For anyone wanting to get involved in this year’s Jacaranda Festival you can do so by, becoming a festival member, volunteer for the Purple Army, sponsoring an event or a candidate or volunteer your skills.

For more information email:  Phone 6642 3959 or check out the Grafton Jacaranda Festival on Facebook.