Local banana plantation near Murwillumbah.
Local banana plantation near Murwillumbah.

Bright start for Bananafest

TWEED'S annual Banana Festival got off to a bright start on an artistic note yesterday with several art displays and moves into a higher gear today with a youth music festival tonight.

Festival co-ordinator Chris Chrisostomos spent much of the day making final arrangements for the music event tonight aimed at attracting teenagers.

“There's not much else in the festival specifically for teenagers, so we thought we had to do something for them,” he said.

“However we will try to do a similar thing on the main festival day (next Saturday) with one of those bucking bulls.”

Mr Chrisostomos said tonight's event, called the Wanted Alternate Music Festival and promoted with “Wanted” signs in keeping with this year's Wild West theme was co-ordinated by young local musician Robert Mudge, a trainee manager at Murwillumbah's KFC outlet who has his own band.

Mr Chrisostomos said that band, three others from the Tweed, one from the Gold Coast and one from Lismore would perform.

“They are playing for nothing,” he added. “They are just doing it for the gig.”

Mr Chrisostomos said three security guards would be on hand at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre tonight for the festival, which runs from 6.30pm to 10pm, and more than a dozen adults would assist the security guards.

“There will be ample supervision and there will be no pass-outs once they are in,” he said.

The festival got under way yesterday with an exhibition of artworks “in pastel” called “Purple and Shine” at the Escape Gallery in Murwillumbah, and two displays at the Tweed River Art Gallery - one in photography and one in art.

Last night several hundred people were expected to attend the Festival Fashion Parade in the Murwillumbah Civic Centre featuring the 16 festival queen entrants, 28 prince and princess entrants and numerous members of the public modelling local fashions.

“We've had up to 500 people in the civic centre. Last year our crowd was about 260,” said Mr Chrisos- tomos.

Next Saturday the street parade and family fun day sponsored by Victory Ford is shaping up to be one of the most colourful street parades yet, according to organisers.

The festival committee says it has booked some fantastic marching bands, including the Redland Shire Ladies Band, the Kyogle Marching Band, the McLean Valley Pipe Band and the Gold Coast Brass Band.

The hour-long parade will set off in the centre ring of the Murwillumbah Showground then make its way up Queensland Road through the main street, around to Wollumbin Street to finish at Knox Park, where family fun day celebrations are planned.

No admission fee is to be charged for that event, which is also the venue for the crowning of the teen queens, the senior and junior princesses, plus the winner of the prince competition.

The family fun day will be a full afternoon, with entertainment on two stages and children's rides, the majority of the rides being offered free of charge.

Organisers said float entry forms for the parade can still be downloaded from www.bananafestival.org or by calling the festival office.

The official crowning of the Ban- ana Festival queens, princesses and princes is to take place next Saturday night in the Murwillumbah Civic Centre.

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