by Kerry Tolson @kerrytolson.com
Grafton Jacaranda Festival
As the mercury hits the 35.6degs we kick up our heels and skip through the piles of purple snow that scatters across the parklands, sidewalks and lawns in the historical country town of Grafton, located on the North Coast of NSW.
Above us a purple rain sprinkles down and flashes against the bluest of blue skies.
That belongs to the Jacaranda Day, always held on the Thursday and starts at 6am when the town gathers together at Market Square for a big breakfast. On that day everyone dresses in purple, and the local business compete for the high coveted Gold Cup in a big "Song and Dance" performance they've rehearsed over many months. I make a note to put it in my diary to attend next year.
After rolling in the petals, and wandering under the purple haze in Market Square where brightly coloured merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels turn, and pipe-bands send a thrill through our veins as the squeeze out 'amazing grace',
we take a wander and drool over the beautiful classic machines at the Vintage Jacaranda Rally.
Then pop across the road to the markets.
With a few hours to spare before the big parade, Mal and I take a drive down the many streets lined in purple, then pop across the 'bendy' bridge to South Grafton where we find the hidden historical shopping precinct.
For 26years I've been driving through South Grafton on the way to Nana Glen and never realised this beautiful little street was here. It's filled with lovely little cafes and quirky vintage & craft shops - all closed at this moment, but being popped onto my 'must check out one day' list.
The parade begins and it's a BIG ONE - possibly one of the biggest parades I've ever seen (regional or city), but far from being cheek-numb wiggly we're swept up in the spirit and enjoy every moment.
The floats keep coming and its as if every business, community group, school, studio and every man/woman and his dog is in the parade - literally - a 'float' of puppies wanders by, all decked in their purple and jacaranda blue bandanas.
And I'm sure it'd be safe to say that every truck in Grafton has also taken part in the parade!
(2min. video of the highlights....)
Towards the end of the parade, we're 'hit' with some unexpected double excitement - the firey's who are prancing about the street, get an emergency call-out and there's a dash and gallop around the crowds, round-a-bout and parade, as trucks, fireman and a quirky fire-character hightails it back to the station.
A coming together of four pipe bands gives a rousing finale to the parade. There's more festival activities into the evening, but happily sated in mauve, purple, and lilac, we drift off home, planning to play in the petalled snow for longer next year.
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book