Dagwood Dog Man stumps up $2k for creative competition
THE McDonald family travelling show dynasty has been a mainstay of the Grafton Jacaranda Festival for generations, and while this year's event did no go ahead the ever-popular Dagwood Dog Man has come to the rescue with cash for a creative competition to keep the Jacaranda Festival spirit alive.
Owner of one of the festival's longest serving food vendors, Jesse McDonald (aka the Dagwood Dog Man) said he'd grown up watching all jacaranda trees blooming, the town of Grafton bustling with anticipation, and painting the town purple for two weeks celebrating the longest running flower festival in Australia.
With the usual celebrations put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr McDonald has done his part to keep the jacaranda spirit alive by donating $2000 in prize money for the My Jaca Heart competition.
"My grandparents have been a part of the festival since 1952, and each year we hire up to 20 locals who have become part of our family," Mr McDonald said.
"We buy from all the local businesses, spend our money in Grafton each year and support local as much as possible.
"If COVID has taught or reminded us of anything, it's to always keep supporting locals.
"We can't wait to get back across the border to bring a little happiness to families far and wide."
A first prize of $1000 is up for grabs in the My Jaca Heart competition for the best short story or video that expresses a favourite memory or what you love about the Jacaranda Festival, with second prize $750 and third $250.
Festival manager Mark Blackadder said it was an amazing gesture from the business given the food stall was not able to take part this year.
"Alicia and Jesse McDonald and their family travel Australia working at all major shows but with the cancellation of many events this year have had to stay home in Brisbane," he said.
"Jesse's attended the Grafton Jacaranda Festival with his parents and grandparents every year since he was born, and this will be the first year he hasn't been able to.
"Their commitment to keeping the spirit alive this year, even though there's no Festival, is incredible and testament to the type of people who have been involved and the community spirit they show."
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The competition has no set format, but is looking for the most creative story or video production. Entries close on November 30 and can be submitted through the Jacaranda Festival website or posted to PO Box 40, Grafton, 2460.
The Dagwood Dog Man will also be in Market Square on Friday December 4 to Sunday December 6.