Jacaranda 2016 passes test with flying colours
THE 2016 Jacaranda Festival was a test case, the first held since events consultant Krista Hauritz was appointed in 2015 to assess and explore ways to help the financially struggling event back to its blooming best.
And the advice has worked according festival co-ordinator Donna Hunt.
Ms Hunt, who was feeling a little weary yesterday after attending the Jacaranda Fun Run, said a great but exhausting effort by a huge team had ensured the success of the 2016 festival.
"This was the first year of a three-year plan and we are really happy with the energy it created in town," she said.
How would you rate the 2016 Jacaranda Festival?
This poll ended on 30 September 2017.
10/10 Best Jacaranda Festival ever! Organisers did a brilliant job.
8/10 Big improvements this year, good advertisement for the Clarence Valley.
6/10 It was okay. Pretty much the same as always.
4/10 Boring. What three year plan? Nothing's changed.
2/10 Jacaranda Festival is an embarrassment to the Clarence Valley.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Ms Hunt said there was still a lot more to be done moving forward but festival organisers are determined to create a better event in general.
She said the new jam-packed nine-day format was a hit with visitors and community participation seemed to be up.
"We had great crowds for all of the events, especially Jacaranda Thursday and Picnic In The Park (after the float procession) was huge," she said.
Ms Hunt said day trips were very popular with some visitors coming from the cities on the train and returning after a big day out while international visitor number continue to improve.
"My husband saw the U-Magazine that featured the festival last year on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Hobart so word is getting around," she said.
Ms Hunt said many visitors chose to walk between festival activities and particularly enjoyed some of the new additions to the program like the big screen, lunchtime school concerts and the daily meet and greet in Market Square.
"The meet and greet was so good and one of the consultant's ideas," Ms Hunt said. "We had bus loads pulling up for that everyday."
Ms Hunt said that some of the changes, like charging for premium seating had failed to appeal but the general consensus was most were welcomed.
"We did have a few complaints but the Venetian Carnival runs at a loss of $10,000 and we made $400 on seating so it's small but it's a start. We are still adding things up at the moment. If we break even we will be happy. Last year we lost money."
Ms Hunt said there was still a way to go to turn things around financially.
"There will be a bit of rethinking and restructuring how we the plan festival and how we manage volunteers on site and thank them because we don't thank them enough," she said.
"We also want to strengthen ties with local business and show them the kind of money the festival brings into town."
Ms Hunt is set to enjoy a break soon but she said organisers are determined to maintain the momentum.
"Queen nominations are already open for next year and we've already had some juniors sign up," she said.