Bashing tarnishes festival's family feel
SHAVING cream and silly string are one thing, but violence is another, especially for one grandmother whose family witnessed a bashing on Jacaranda Thursday.
Sherry Dean's daughter and grandchildren were near Market Square on Thursday when they saw one young teenager beat up another.
In a Facebook post, which has been circulating online, Ms Dean said one boy wrestled another to the ground before kicking and punching him, "booting" him in the face while he was on the ground.
"He was really hurt, the mother was screaming and that's what attracted people to break it up," she said.
"A few people did get in to help him... but the sad thing is that the boy (who beat him) walked away and his mates were high-fiving him."
Ms Dean said her daughter and grandchildren were horrified by the event.
"(My grandson) clung to my daughter and had that real worried look," she said.
"It wasn't only him there, there were a lot of little ones around the area."
With many holidaymakers coming to Grafton for the festival, Ms Dean thinks this kind of behaviour could reflect badly on the town.
"It would probably open their eyes to see that behaviour," she said.
"I know it's been like this for years, but it seems to be getting worse."
Ms Dean said while she understood some children didn't know any different, there needed to be measures in place to ensure incidents like this did not happen.
Festival co-ordinator Donna Hunt said the Jacaranda Festival hired security guards to help ensure the safety of people at all festival events.
Ms Hunt said the incident happened near the Clocktower entrance into Market Square, near where security guards were looking out for children with shaving cream.
"It was lucky the security guards were there," she said.
"We had six security guards in the park all day, which is the same number that we have had in the past few years.
"We try to keep (that behaviour) out of the park. We have the police involved in all of our events and half a dozen security guards... so our reaction time can be quick."
Ms Hunt said while the situation was disappointing, there were very few incidents on Jacaranda Thursday.
"We got an estimated 10,000 people to the day and we had an incident involving two children," she said.
According to Ms Hunt, there was a lot more positive behaviour from businesses and community members than negative.
"We will debrief with security after all the events and if they think we will need more next year, we will follow what they recommend," she said.