Grafton has officially welcomed the newest members of its royal family.
In front of a lively crowd at the Westlawn and Hall & Prior 2021 Jacaranda Queen Crowning Ceremony on December 3, two beautiful ladies and two gorgeous young girls, proudly walked up to the stage in Market Square after their names were read out to formally assume their new roles and begin another chapter in the long and proud history of the Jacaranda Festival.
It was a moment they had to wait an additional 12 months to experience following the cancellation of the 2020 Jacaranda Festival, but it was a moment that was definitely worth waiting for.
As the reigning 2019 and longest serving Jacaranda Queen Ashton Blackadder appeared via video link and formally renounced her title, she acknowledged all of the 2021 candidates as “stars”, before the town crier walked onto the stage to reveal her successor.
Hanna Craig, sponsored by her employer BCU, was crowned the 2021 Jacaranda Queen while Breeanna “Breeze” Paine, sponsored by Summerland Credit Union, was announced as the 2021 Jacaranda Princess.
As the special guest 1990 Jacaranda Queen Belinda Steele placed the crown upon her head, Ms Craig was overcome with emotion as the crowd cheered and applauded loudly.
Stepping up to the microphone, Ms Craig thanked her sponsor and her fellow candidates, who she referred to as lifelong friends following their whirlwind jacaranda journey together, and said she felt incredibly proud and honoured to be the 77th Jacaranda Queen.
Earlier in the evening, Brooke Chapman, sponsored by Farrell McCrohon Stock and Station Agents, was crowned the 2021 Junior Jacaranda Queen and Aaliyah-Scarlett Roach, sponsored by Ashley Albert Performing Arts, was named the 2021 Junior Jacaranda Princess.
Describing the 2021 candidates and junior candidates as extraordinary ambassadors for their local community, President of the Jacaranda Festival Committee Desan Padayachee said it was wonderful to be able to hold the time-honoured Jacaranda Queen Crowning Ceremony again and was thrilled to see a large turnout for the event, despite Covid-19 restrictions.
Mr Padayachee also formally welcomed Wesley Mission as the Jacaranda Festival’s first ever naming rights sponsor during the ceremony and said wished everyone a happy jacaranda as the celebrations began.