Meet Grafton's longest serving Jacaranda Queen
ASHTON Blackadder added another piece of history to her resume this week when she became the longest serving Jacaranda Queen.
Her reign continues into a second year due to the COVID enforced cancellation of this year's festival.
While she's honoured to hold the title, Ms Blackadder said she wanted others to be able to share in the incredible experience.
"I'm happy to have it for another year, but I really wanted to be able to give it over to someone else as well," she said."
"I wanted to be involved with the girls this year and show the experience I had this year and share it with them."
Ms Blackadder said it had been a long journey from growing up being scared to speak in public to standing in front of an adoring Market Square crowd with the ceremonial robes and crown.
"I have been looking back through photos, and I got a bit emotional thinking about it," she said.
"I remember having to go behind stage and was almost sick I was so nervous.
"But I calmed down, I sat on stage, and the rest was history."
Ms Blackadder said it was not only the crowning night, but the week of exploring the festival with the other girls in the party that made memories for a lifetime.
"It was like a bond of sisterhood being able to go around to places with the group of girls," she said.
"And seeing all the people at the events, I've lived here my whole life and you just see the whole town and community at its best."
Ms Blackadder said she was sad the events had to be cancelled this year, but was glad to see the spirit was still alive and well in Grafton.
"I spent three days making a jacaranda tree for our front window," she laughed. "You go down the street and I think there's more than 50 businesses still doing something and putting in the effort.
"It's such a good feeling that people still care."
While she won't get to pull out her crown officially for another year, living appropriately on Jacaranda Avenue, Ms Blackadder said she might give a few tourists a unique experience.
"There's a lot of people still coming down the street and taking photos," she said. "They're using my front fence to take their photos - so I should put the crown and sash on and go outside and take some photos."