Jacaranda Ball 2016: Oh, what a night
THE new floorboards at Grafton's Barn certainly stood up to a testing workout on Saturday night, with the historic pavilion revisiting its glory days as Jacaranda parties past and present tripped the "purple" light fantastic with their families and festival supporters.
The event heralded the official opening of the 2016 Jacaranda season and more than 250 people were there to get proceedings off to a swinging start.
The big band sounds that filled the barn's acoustic chamber left guests with no other option than to hit the dance floor.
The music was once again provided by the Royal Australian Navy Band which was completing a rare hat-trick at the annual event.
"They don't go anywhere twice but this is third appearance here at the ball. They love Grafton and we love them," Jacaranda Ball team leader Jeff Smith said.
Mr Smith said the event had enjoyed a social renaissance for the past few years after rejuvenation. Its future was looking grim there for a time.
"It was nearly cancelled three years ago so to see it return back to its home at The Barn after being away for more than 30 years, and using modern technology to tell a traditional story, like the historical images being screened here on the side of the barn tonight, is fantastic to see," he said.
Mr Smith, who is also vice-president of the Jacaranda Festival Inc, said there was a range of guests attending this year's ball, including families who travelled from Noosa and Sydney, locals who had never been, and those who came year after year.
He said an event such as the ball relied heavily on volunteer support.
"We have great teams who are passionate about it," he said.
"This year each person has taken on a department and it has excelled.
"The attention to detail goes right down to things like the purple drinking straws and the table flowers that come from the girls' grandparent's gardens.
"We are returning back to the days of seeing that level of community effort being made."
The 2016 Jacaranda Festival runs from Friday, October 28, to Sunday, November 6.