Billed as Australia's oldest family floral festival, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival is a celebration of colour and community held in the historic city of Grafton on the NSW North Coast among the beautiful purple blooms of the jacaranda trees.
With more than 100 events, exhibitions and displays, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival has something for everyone. Here's a taste of what's on offer throughout the festival:
- Jacaranda Ball at South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club on Friday October 30.
- The Daily Examiner Parade of Youth and Banner Competition, which starts at the Civic Centre at 9am on Saturday October 31 and proceeds along Prince Street to Market Square.
- Jacaranda Queen Crowning, a gala evening at Market Square starting from 6.30pm on October 31, capped by the announcement of this year's Jacaranda Queen, Jacaranda Junior Queen and Highest Fund-Raiser.
- Dragon Boat Races Family Fun Day on the banks of the Clarence River at Memorial Park, starting from 9am on Sunday November 1.
- Jacaranda Day on Thursday November 5, which includes a free breakfast in Market Square, dancing and games for the kids in the morning, judging of the festive shops, offices and staff competition - a favourite event for Grafton locals - at noon, and the Jacaranda Talent Quest from 1pm.
- The Venetian Carnival on the banks of the Clarence River on Friday November 6, which features the Jacaranda Festival Celebration of Wooden Boats and Clarence Valley Council's fireworks displays.
- Grand Float Procession on Saturday November 7 starting at 5pm in Prince Street, with live entertainment in Market Square all evening.
- Jacaranda Fun Run at Caramana Park, Rogan Bridge Road, on Sunday November 8.
There's also exhibitions of woodcraft, handicraft, gems, an astronomical display, embroidery, markets, a competition for the Jacaranda Festival's most beautiful baby, gardens on exhibition throughout the city, live entertainment, an antique fair, golf and bowls competitions, organ and choral recitals, and even a Jacaranda Festival Reunion Afternoon Tea, for all the repeat visitors to catch up.
Search the full list of official events to plan your own Jacaranda Festival.
As well as the official events, Grafton will play host to a myriad of other festivities, and you can search the list of other events via the official website.
Jacaranda Queen/Junior Jacaranda Queen
Far and away the highlight of the 75th Grafton Jacaranda Festival will be the crowning of the Jacaranda Queen and Junior Jacaranda Queen.
Accepting a nomination to become a Jacaranda Queen candidate is a great honour of the Grafton community, since the festival itself can only continue to survive as a self-funded event from the funds raised by the candidates.
In the lead-up to the festival, candidates hold social events to raise funds, and prepare for the gala presentation on October 31, with training in etiquette, deportment and public speaking.
The Jacaranda Queen competition is not a beauty quest; the lucky young ladies to be crowned Jacaranda Queen and Junior Jacaranda Queen are chosen for their suitability as representatives of the Clarence Valley and the City of Grafton.
Getting to the Festival
Grafton is located on the Mid North Coast of NSW, 300kms south of Brisbane and 600kms north of Sydney. Follow the Pacific Highway and you can't miss it...but you can search a map for directions to Grafton just to be sure.
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