All systems go



LAST year's Venetian Carnival on the banks of the Clarence River promised to go off with a bang, but steady rain ensured it fizzled, forcing its cancellation for the first time in living memory.

With Grafton High School lined up as an alternative all-weather venue, the carnival promises to rise from the ashes tomorrow night and stamp its reputation as one of the Jacaranda Festival's must-see events.

Yesterday event director Gail Harding-McBay was busy looking for an act to replace the 25-minute slot left vacant by local band Unheard due to a last-minute cancellation.

But with rappers, belly dancers, singers, fireworks and more than 70 dance students from across the Clarence Valley ready to entertain, Ms Harding-McBay said the show will almost certainly go on.

"It's all good other than that," she said.

Jacaranda royalty will be watching on too with both the senior and junior queens parties expected to be on hand to enjoy the occasion.

Ms Harding-McBay said this year's Junior Jacaranda Princess, Brearna Blanchard, will be dancing, but she didn't know whether she could convince newly-crowned queen Katie Hirst to join her.

"If she (Katie) feels the urge then she may jump up, but I think she'll be enjoying it from the other side.

"I don't think she's ever watched one right through.

"She's been in them every year that I've had her."

Almost three hours of entertainment starts at 5.40pm tomorrow on the banks of the Clarence River at the end of Prince Street.



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