Festival is ready to roll

WE are all in go mode, said Tweed Valley Banana Festival president Chris Chrisostomos yesterday as the countdown began for the start of the annual event on Friday.

But Mr Chrisostomos is also hoping forecast showers today will clear by the weekend to avoid a repeat of last year's cancellation of the Saturday street parade due to rain. As a precaution the festival committee this year has abandoned a 54-year-old tradition of holding the parade on the second and final Saturday of the festival.

The move provides a second date in the event of a washout.

Mr Chrisostomos said the same "medieval" theme had been kept this year to allow community groups, schools and others who had prepared floats for last year's abandoned parade to resurrect their hard work.

"We are hoping for fine weather all day with on-stage entertainment scheduled till six at the Stan Sercombe oval after the%parade," he said.

"Sideshow alley will keep running and there'll be fireworks at eight."

But Mr Chrisostomos said festival organisers were still able to accept any trade exhibitors who want to join the parade as long as they call the festival office soon.

The festival is due to officially kick off with the weighing of bunches of bananas from local growers vying for titles such as King and Queen Banana from 1pm Friday behind the Escape Gallery in Murwillumbah. Mr Chrisostomos said $15-per-head tickets were also still available for Friday night's Banana Festival Fashion Parade in the Murwillumbah Civic Centre auditorium, with 22 retailers set to show off their wares.



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