Wet patch disrupts Jacaranda festival
By ADRIAN MILLER firstname.lastname@example.org
ANOTHER year, another Grafton Jacaranda Festival passes by and it's time to start planning with purple passion for the next.
The week-long festival, which climaxed at the weekend, was as popular as ever, even if mother nature conspired against a highlight, the float procession, on Saturday afternoon.
The procession was not the only event affected, with the storm causing the cancellation of the bull riding event at the Grafton Showground.
While the storm which hit Grafton when floats were parading on Saturday only lasted 20 minutes, its impact was still being felt yesterday.
Studio 1 manager and decorated floral float winner Gail McBay said the downpour had made the end of the parade uncomfortable.
"There was no chance of anyone not getting wet," she said.
"There was lightning, thunder, wind and whipping rain and eventually everyone just got soaked."
But even though performers were soaked to the skin, the spirit of Jacaranda was not drenched.
"We kept singing and dancing to keep the kids occupied and take their minds off it," she said.
Ms McBay said although some equipment was ruined and monetary damage could climb into the thousands, she would not dream of missing out next year.
"We'll be back bigger and better next year ? we can't give in just because we got rained on ? it's for the kids," she said.
'For the kids' was the feeling at the Jacaranda Beautiful Baby competition.
Cuddly kids and terrific tots were everywhere in Market Square, Grafton, and although there was only one overall winner, Emily Paterson, the judges faced a difficult task separating the cute from the cutest.
Jacaranda festival committee senior vice-president Helen Weatherstone said the festival was once again an enormous success.
"Everybody I spoke to had a great time and everything went well," she said.
Mrs Weatherstone said one of the most pleasing aspects was the continued support of businesses.
"The support from business houses, particularly to the girls, has been great," she said.
"All of them said when they asked they were given support from the community, so that has been really pleasing."