MUMMY I’M SO PROUD OF YOU
Newly crowned Jacaranda Queen Alana Gordon set to reign over the legendary floral festival that has family and friendship at its heart
FAMILY FIRST: Jacaranda Queen Alana Gordon gets a hug from her eldest son Tyler at Saturday night’s crowning ceremony at Market Square.
AS NEWLY crowned Jacaranda Queen Alana Gordon walked off the stage at Market Square, the first person she saw was her eldest boy, six-year-old Tyler.
“Mummy, I’m so proud of you,” he said as he gave her a big hug.
Ms Gordon said the ambition to be part of the Jacaranda quest had been a long-held one growing up in Grafton.
“I have wanted to run for queen my whole life,” she said.
“But life got really busy. I have three beautiful children now, and I’m 29 next year, so it was now or never.
“This is just unreal, amazing, I didn’t expect it at all.”
Ms Gordon said, after growing up in Grafton, there was a magic about Jacaranda time she wanted to be a part of.
“Jacaranda just excites me. People change around Jaca time, they get excited and come together and everyone gets happy,” she said.
“I am so excited now for the pressure just to be off and to be able to enjoy the events with the girls.”
Ms Gordon paid tribute to her mother, husband and children for their support throughout the festival, as well as her sponsor the Village Green Hotel, and her work at Telstra where she is a business specialist.
Adding to her big night, Ms Gordon was also announced as the highest fundraiser of the seven candidates for the festival, raising $23,077.91. She said she wanted to do something different for her events, including hot air balloon rides across Grafton.
“I believe that people want an experience and a memory, and I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done.”
Ms Gordon wasn’t alone in expressing shock at hearing her name, with Jacaranda Princess Emilee Wall admitting on stage she hadn’t rehearsed her acceptance speech, while thanking the community for the support she had been shown.
Earlier in the evening, it was a mixture of tears, shock and happiness for Holly Blundell as she was named Junior Jacaranda Queen. “It was very overwhelming – I was a bit shocked at the start, very teary, and it just turned out to be amazing,” Holly said.
“I’ve been part of Jacaranda all my life, from performing at Venetian carnivals, parades, it was just the right thing to do.
“The crown feels very weird, but I’ll get used to it soon.”
Holly said she was honoured and looking forward to spending time during the week with the newly named Junior Jacaranda Princess Tahlia O’Hara and the other girls.
“We’ve all become best friends,” she said.
The senior candidates raised $58,098.66 during their candidacy, with the junior candidates adding just over $14,000 to the Jacaranda coffers.
ROYALTY: Jacaranda princess Emilee Wall and Queen Alana Gordon congratulate each other after the announcement.
Studio One dancers perform the traditional Homage to the Crown at the Jacaranda Queen crowning.
2016 Jacaranda Queen Sharni Wren renounces her title at the crowning.
EXCITED: Junior Jacaranda Queen Holly Blundell and princess Tahlia O'Hara.
2016 Jacaranda Princess Heidi Madsen renounces her title.
The 2017 Junior jacaranda candidates face the crowd ahead of the official announcement of the junior queen and princess.
Jacaranda crowning MC's Desan Padayachee and former Jacaranda Queen Nikki Cousemacker.
Jacaranda Guest of Honour Pat Connelly announces the 2017 Jacaranda Queen.
2017 Jacaranda Matron of Honour Patricia Hewitt is invested in her position.