JACA 2020: Go Purple business competition winners revealed
THE winner of the Grafton Jacaranda Festival's Go Purple campaign is Paper Daisy Florist.
The Prince St business is a regular supporter of the Jacaranda Festival and was one of the first businesses to submit their entry into the competition, getting to work early in October on their extravagant Secret Garden theme.
"The shop was themed purple from the front door to the back door and even the ceiling," Grafton Jacaranda Festival manager Mark Blackadder said.
"The amount of effort and creativity from their uniforms to their social media presence was brilliant.
"Paper Daisy Florist was a Jacaranda Float Parade placegetter last year and have always participated heavily in jacaranda in the four years they've been open, and are a deserved winner of our first Go Purple competition.
"It's great to see such a small business make such an enormous effort."
While the sidewalk was quieter on Jacaranda Thursday, Prince St experienced a spike in businesses decorating their shops this year.
The Grafton Jacaranda Festival committee received 68 entries for its Go Purple competition in 2020 as the community took it upon themselves to spread the jacaranda cheer.
Rebranded from the The Daily Examiner Jacaranda Business Competitions, Go Purple ran throughout the duration of Jacaranda Season from October 16 to November 11, with businesses asked to convert their businesses and staff to purple.
"We received over double the entries we had last year," Grafton Jacaranda Festival manager Mark Blackadder said. "It's biggest reaction we've had to a business comp in years.
"I think it was partly because the theme was very easy to follow, and businesses wanted to support Jacaranda this year to help get customers through their doors due to the lack of turnover as a result of the cancellation of the festival.
"They all came together in support of each other and keep the spirit alive for 2020."
The other part of the campaign was a collective social media push from businesses involved using several hashtags to promote the Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Clarence Valley Council.
"From the festival's perspective, engagement on Facebook is up 410 per cent on last year, and Instagram is 160 per cent up, and Go Purple campaign has really helped," Mr Blackadder said.
"Obviously we've had the time to focus on social media this year and this proves it is an important part of how we promote the festival."
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Mr Blackadder, festival secretary Amanda Ryder and Grafton Chamber of Commerce president Annmarie Henderson judged the Go Purple competition, visiting most of the participating businesses on Jacaranda Thursday (Nov 5), and the following day.
"This year we had the chance to visit most of the businesses, get to know them and say thank you, which never happens during a really busy festival," Mr Blackadder said.
Mr Blackadder said the Go Purple campaign would not only become a permanent feature moving forward, but hoped to expand it beyond businesses and encourage the whole community to get behind making Grafton purple.
Grafton's jacaranda trees in See Park, Market Square and other highly visible locations are set to be illuminated from 2021 thanks to a $195,000 Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grant to Clarence Valley Council from the Federal Government.
Mr Blackadder said it was a great opportunity for Grafton residents to start a tradition of getting their Christmas lights early and really light up Grafton.
"We want to carry this theme of Go Purple beyond businesses and encourage everyone to Go Purple, including houses, especially at night to accompany the trees they will be lit up with the grant," he said.
So get your Christmas lights out early, and make them purple!"