From the Newsroom

The Clocktower in Grafton was crowned on October 13 to officially commemorate the beginning of the Jacaranda season in 2021. Image: Emma Pritchard

Lighting up Grafton with a crowning affair – but 2021 Jacaranda Festival postponed

Emma Pritchard

Beneath an overcast sky on October 13, a small crowd of early risers gathered in Prince Street to watch the crowning of the famous Grafton Clocktower.

A time-honoured annual tradition that officially commemorates the start of the Jacaranda season, the crown was dutifully lowered into place shortly after 6am as Jacaranda Festival Manager, Mark Blackadder and Jacaranda Festival Vice President, Desan Padayachee looked on.

Despite the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 Jacaranda Festival due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Padayachee said the Jacaranda Festival Committee was “excitedly planning” for the event to go ahead this year, despite the increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the local area.

“We’re totally optimistic, but we’re also totally realistic and prepared to follow whatever advice is given to keep the community safe,” Mr Padayachee said.

Two days later, it was announced the 2021 Jacaranda Festival would be postponed for five weeks due to community concerns amidst Grafton’s rising Covid-19 case numbers.

The much-loved local event will now commence its 10-day program on December 3.

Mr Blackadder said the new date will allow all people to attend the festival, adding postponing the event was the right decision to make.

“It’s unfortunate we find ourselves in this situation, but with the number of infectious people increasing daily, we have no option but to do our part to keep the community safe,” he said.

“As Market Square has been designated a major recreational outdoor facility, we were also expecting no restrictions on who could attend, but the double-vax rule has since meant many who haven’t been fully vaccinated won’t be able to.

“Moving the festival back five weeks will alleviate both of these issues and enable us to keep its tradition very much alive.”

While a majority of events will now take place in early December, Mr Blackadder confirmed some events will go ahead on their original dates due to programming requirements and touring schedules.

The highly anticipated Troy Cassar-Daley and Ian Moss, Alone Together concert, will still go ahead on October 31, but the event will now be held at the Saraton Theatre instead of Market Square, as will the Bob Downe and Briefs Laundry Show on November 6.

“We will still have a very full program with all the events moving back, and the Jacaranda Queen Crowning Ceremony will start the festival on December 3,” Mr Blackadder said.

For further information regarding new dates for the 2021 Jacaranda Festival, please visit www.jacarandafestival.com

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