2020 Jacaranda Season in Grafton officially opens
THE 2020 Jacaranda Season is officially upon us with the crowning of the Grafton Clocktower at dawn this morning.
Grafton Jacaranda Festival senior vice president Desan Padayachee rose early to watch the time-honoured tradition take place in the middle of the Prince St and Pound St roundabout.
Last year a new, bigger crown replaced the old one, and this year new lights have been added.
"The lights will light the whole clocktower purple for the entire Jacaranda Season, we're really excited about that," Mr Padayachee said.
"We were all so anxious on the committee about what was going to happen this year, so just to have this event still on the calendar is exciting."
The Jacaranda Festival itself has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means most events won't take place, including the gazetted half-day public holiday for Jacaranda Thursday.
In its place The Daily Examiner will be running a jacaranda-themed best dressed competition with the winners announced on Jacaranda Thursday. More details to be released soon.
In the meantime, festival manager Mark Blackadder assured the Jacaranda spirit was alive and well in the city and there was still much to look forward to in the coming weeks.
"What we do really want to support is getting visitors to town in a very COVID-safe way, to see the trees and the beautiful city, and support local business," Mr Blackadder said.
"We've encouraged all local businesses to Go Purple and really get behind the spirit of Jacaranda and keep it alive.
"The response has been fantastic, we've had over 50 applicants already and we've got til Friday, knowing we've still got a lot more to come in.
"We've also had to order more purple shirts into Jaca HQ."
So while we're living in uncertain times and springtime in Grafton this year will be unlike any other, there is still one thing we can still be absolutely certain of.
"We are definitely going to see the jacarandas blooming," Mr Padayachee said.
"Unlike human beings these trees do not disappoint, and if you look around town at the moment, they're already coming out.
"To see that jacaranda tree just behind the clocktower. Just a day or two ago it was a bit scant, but on cue it just blossomed for this morning.
"And one thing I think we'll see this year which we need to embrace is the ground covering of jacarnda blossoms without too much human interruption. So it will be a perfect year to get out with your cameras and take some beautiful shots.
I know what we're going to be doing, because in years to come this is going to be the footage that we'll be selling to the world."