THE Tweed Valley Banana Festival shifted into top gear on Saturday with the Starlight Children's Foundation Motorcycle Riders leading a street parade of floats laden with royalty.
Reigning and prospective queens, princesses and princes headed off at noon from the Murwillumbah Showgrounds in a cavalcade destined for Knox Park and a family fun day.
Festival co-ordinator Carol Mudge said 39 floats were ready to roll as well as a tractor carrying the reigning 2011 Festival Queen and the King and Queen Banana.
Ms Mudge said the turnout of floats was the biggest in years and with the weather looking "beautiful" it was going to be a "spectacular" sight.
The post-parade family fun day will see coronations galore, with the crowning of Festival Junior Princess, Senior Princess, Prince, Teen Queen and Queen, in addition to Miss Personality.
A warm-up for today's big day was last night's Festival Ball at Plantation House, Duranbah, where nine entrants werevying for the title of Charity Queen.
"It's judged purely and simply on who has raised the most funds for their charity," said Ms Mudge.
She said this year's charities included the Volunteer Rescue Association and the Murwillumbah SES, with entrant Emily Colletone, who has spina bifida, raising funds for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Queensland.
The family fun day included a banana toss, free rides, a jumping castle, stalls, and a display by the Redland Shire Ladies' Drum Corps.
Ms Mudge said thousands of bananas had been given away since the start of the festival.
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