Banana festival unveils stars
BANANA Jim and Sugar Sue are the Tweed’s newest super heroes.
The mascots yesterday revealed their secret identities to the reigning Banana Queen and this year’s hopefuls.
And the friendly fruits are calling for sidekicks to join them at the 55th Tweed Valley Banana Festival, which will have a heroes and villains theme.
“We felt that gives people a good, wide scope to dress up,” committee president Chris Chrisostomos said.
“We have just opened applications for young ladies wishing to be involved.”
The committee is searching for a Queen (aged 18-25), Teen Queen (aged 13-17), Senior Princess (aged 9-12), Junior Princess (aged 5-8) and Prince (aged 5-12) entrants.
Mr Chrisostomos said there had been a Banana King competition before, and the committee would consider running it again if they had more than one entry.
He added the committee could match the Banana Queen entrants with sponsors and charities if they chose to compete for the title of charity queen also.
“It costs us about $22,000 to run the festival,” he said.
“We raise that much in sponsorship and raise that again and give it back to the community.”
Fundraising this year will be up to individual entrants, as last year’s combined events placed too big a burden on the committee.
They are hoping for at least 10 queen candidates, Mr Chrisostomos said.
“We want to have the queens sashed in late April. That will give them four months for fundraising.”
The festival will run from August 13, beginning with a heroes and villains themed fashion parade.
Former Banana Queen Grace Molloy will be this year’s queen chaperone.
To nominate, call the Banana Festival office on (02) 6672 6186 or Grace on 0400 977 900.
The festival’s first Banana Queen in 1956, Jill McGregor (now Dennis), won a cruise to Honolulu.
Second Banana Queen Glenice Harry (now Smith) started a family tradition, with her daughter Diana and her daughter-in-law Tracey becoming queens in 1984 and 1986.
1963 Banana Queen Marelle Flanagan (now Campion) was so surprised when she won that she nearly fell off the stage.
Swinging sixties Banana Queen Donna Wilcox (now Evans) became a volunteer missionary in New Guinea.
Tweed Daily News social columnist Mollie Butler once entered as a Banana Queen.