?Ditzy Duke?, aka Candice Battersby
?Ditzy Duke?, aka Candice Battersby

Dukes of Jaca

By JULIA ILES

julia.iles@dailyexaminer.com.au

FORGET Venice's Carnivale or Brazil's Mardi Gras, yesterday Grafton was transformed into a colourful spectacle of outlandish characters and brightly dressed onlookers.

One of the highlights of Jacaranda Thursday was the show put on by Mackellys clothing store, which parodied the Dukes of Hazard.

With humour reminiscent of the Movieworld Police Academy show, it was full of chases, crazy hicks and ditzy broads. 'Ditzy Duke', aka Candice Battersby, pictured, in her cut-off denim shorts, performed a mime to Jessica Simpson's racy version of 'These Boots are Made for Walking'.

Other acts staged by businesses included Bob the Builder, Willy Wonka, Australian Idol, Dancing with the Stars and the School of Rock.

"Idol was my favourite of the shows, it was really funny," Jacob Andrews, a student from South Grafton HIgh School, said.

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In a case of life imitating art, the spectators were the main attraction ? from a cloaked figure in a grotesque goblin mask buying a coffee at Shoppingworld, to arrays of young girls wearing matching fairy costumes and cheerleader outfits.

And on Prince St the smell of Hare Krishna curry, barbecued onions, deep fried food and caramel hung in the air.

Towards noon Market Square's population swelled, as did the lines for rainbow coloured snow cones, showbags full of teeth-rotting candy and sauce-dipped dagwood dogs.

A bouncy castle, slides and a ferris wheel provided a few minutes of peace for parents as they watched their children burn off a little energy.

"Jacaranda is such a special time and it's lovely to see everything in the town come alive," Cheryl Barnes said, who was the 2000 Jacaranda matron of honour.

"It's also a great time to meet up with friends you don't see that often."

In addition there were stalls, buskers and the rebel yell of children with pop guns and super-soakers.

Wiley's Hotel on the corner of Prince and Pound streets was packed with punters who shunned the warm sun in favour of beer.

Throughout Grafton the standard of behaviour good, with no arrests made at the time of going to print.

A police spokesperson said Jacaranda Thursday was 'a good day, almost like business as usual'.



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