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Better Homes and Gardens presenter Jason Hodges talks with Jacaranda Festival president Jeff Smith alias Mr I SCREAM. Image contributed

Lifestyle program highlights Jacaranda

Lynne Mowbray |

Channel 7’s lifestyle program Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) which screened last Friday, has highlighted Grafton’s Jacaranda Festival and gained national publicity.

BHG presenter Jason Hodges spoke with radio 2GF’s Richie Williamson live to air on Friday morning, in the lead up to the show’s screening.

Jason said that he had an absolute ball, when he visited the Jacaranda city during last year’s Jacaranda Festival.

“It was outstanding. I can’t tell you how excited I was to go,” Jason said.

“We had a couple of days up there; a beautiful town, great people and it was like the whole town was having a muck-up day; I was in my element.

“Every town should have something like it (the Jacaranda Festival), but you can’t build that tradition overnight.

“For the town’s councillors 140-150 years ago, before the railway line came in, to have the foresight to plant (jacarandas) along where the railway line was going to go so Grafton looked different to every other town along the coast, was genius,” he said.

Jason said that screening of the jacaranda feature at this time of year may not make sense for getting people here later in the year, but he went on to explain why.

“I guarantee it was such a good story that the boss brought it forward and he’ll replay it the week before the Jacaranda Festival (this year). So the town and the community are going to get two bites at the cherry, because it was a really positive, strong story,” said Jason.

Jason said that there was a lot more to Grafton than was in the Jacaranda feature and people really had to visit Grafton to experience some of the hotels where he had lunch.

When asked by Richie if he got to try one of the Jacaranda ice creams he replied, ‘One? – I had about nine!

Jacaranda Festival manager Mark Blackadder said that the Jacaranda Festival screening on Better Homes and Gardens on Friday evening was testament that the festival is not just a small community event.

“The festival committee and I are delighted about the screening of the feature on Better Homes and Gardens,’ said Mark.

“It is so exciting for the Clarence Valley community that our amazing festival, this beautiful regional city and the jacarandas, have featured on a national TV program.

“This year will be the 85th anniversary of the festival and national publicity like this will help ensure this year’s festival is the largest and most successful in history,” he said.