Festival goes off with 'a big bang'

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of Murwillumbah on Saturday for a glimpse into the Dark %Ages at the opening weekend of the popular 53rd annual Tweed Valley Banana Festival.

Hordes of Vikings, knights, damsels in distress, mercenary officials and dragons took part in the street parade and family fun day under the theme "Medieval Madness -- The Return of the Banana Bunch".

Banana festival executive committee member Janelle Skennar said that unlike last year's street parade, this weekend's event was blessed with beautiful weather.

"We decided to do the medieval theme again because last year's street parade was washed out," Ms Skennar said.

"All the effort put into designing medieval-themed floats last year did not go to waste. The weather is really making up for it this year."

The Banana Festival officially started with a fashion parade on Friday night.

"It was all very colourful and it is great to see the local businesses getting into the spirit as well," Ms Skennar said.

There was a host of entertainment on Saturday, including the Hot Chilli Drummers, Smokehouse Country Band, a pipe band and a DJ.

"We really believe it was the most successful parade we have had," Ms Skennar said.

The movement of the street festival from the last Saturday of the festival to the first was a success with spectators.

"We think that it has worked out better this way. Now we are opening with a big bang," Ms Skennar said.

The festivities continued yesterdaysun with Banana Breakfast in the Park and several other events throughout the day.

Other events scheduled for this week include the Gone Bananas Film Festival this Wednesday night27/8 at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre and the Medieval Banquet on Friday night.

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