GET READY: New Jacaranda Festival coordinator Donna Hunt is priming the town for a purple patch.
GET READY: New Jacaranda Festival coordinator Donna Hunt is priming the town for a purple patch. Adam Hourigan

Jacaranda Festival preparation underway

DONNA Hunt may be a low-key Graftonian by community group standards but come November they will be a lot more familiar with the event planner and mother of three who has called the Jacaranda City home for the past five years.

Donna was appointed co-ordinator of the Jacaranda Festival in March and has the 2015 event firmly in her sights as she works alongside the rejuvenated committee which also boast several new faces.

"There are going to be a lot of changes and new products to develop for this year's festival. The role is for 15 hours a week so it is going to be busy."

While the festival will certainly test Donna's organisational skills, she is no stranger to co-ordinating community functions as a qualified event manager.

"I worked in that capacity in Alice Springs for five years at the convention centre and Charles Darwin University," Donna said. "And I met my husband doing the same at the Toowoomba University."

That is where the Grafton connection comes in, her spouse Toby a Grafton lad.

"We used go to Grafton for the holidays to see his parents so I knew the place well before moving here."

Donna is mother to three sons, Austin, 15, William, 6, and Jonathan, 4, and also works a casual job at the McAuley Catholic College office which also goes some way in showcasing her juggling skills.

"I'm used to co-ordinating 50 events over an 18 month period but there are nearly that many events over two weeks at Jacaranda. Every club in Grafton gets involved which is great. People may consider me a bit more of a local once I get involved in the festival," Donna laughed.

"Council are really supportive of anything that helps promote the Clarence River," she said.

But while new ideas will help expand the program, Donna said the history of the Jacaranda Festival is part of its charm. "It's an old fashioned country festival, and I like that. It's important to retain that while incorporating the new events to help it grow."

Having lived in Toowoomba Donna is familiar with jacarandas and floral festivals.

"The Carnival of Flowers there was dying at one stage and now it's back and really thriving," Donna said.

"We can help do that here - there is so much more community involvement here than you see in larger centres.

"It's lovely to see and I look forward to working in this environment."


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