Camden jacaranda festival springs to life

There’s no denying that Camden’s jacaranda trees are iconic.

Now residents will have a chance to celebrate the beloved trees at the inaugural Macarthur Jacaranda Festival to be held from November 23 to 25.

Camden Council will provide $10,000 in funding to the Argyle Business Collective to host the event.

Collective founder and Camden Hotel manager Andrew Valciukas was delighted with the council’s decision.

“Camden Council have provided incredible support to the Camden community yet again,” he said.

“They have supported adding another event to the calendar which is an opportunity to bring people in and show them what Camden has to offer.

“The jacarandas are an iconic part of Camden.

“If you grew up in the area, or even if you just moved here, not many people have known Camden without the jacarandas.

“People are very passionate about the trees.”

Mr Valciukas said the event would be a chance for Camden business owners and the community to come together and celebrate what makes Camden great.

“We want emphasise the advantages that Camden has compared to other shopping destinations around the area and give the community a festival they can be proud of,” he said.

Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak was delighted the jacaranda festival would go ahead this year.

“A jacaranda festival has been talked about for years so it’s great to see some community members stepping up to get it going,” she said.

“The festival will celebrate the jacarandas and also have a bit of Christmas celebrations incorporated.

“There will be live music – similar to Live and Local.

“There will also be a focus on local stall holders and local businesses and the lighting of the Camden Council Christmas Tree.”

The tree lighting ceremony is usually held during the annual Light Up Camden celebrations.

“People love the tradition of the Christmas tree but it will be good to have some renewal,” she said.

“It will be a tradition with a twist  – and I am confident it will be well received by the community.”

Camden Historical Society president and local resident Dr Ian Willis was also supportive of the event.

He told The Advertiser last year that a jacaranda festival would be a positive event for the region.

“Anything that promotes the town locally, in Australia and even internationally is a good idea,” he said.

“It’s great branding – it could bring in more jobs, more business and more people to Camden.”

Jacaranda trees were originally planted in Camden in 1927.

Dr Willis said it was hard to pinpoint exactly why they were chosen but he said they were planted at a time when a tourism craze was sweeping Australia.

“Camden was known as ‘Little England’ due to the large properties and style of the buildings in the main street which bought a lot of visitors to town,” he said.

“I suppose the trees are a part of that nostalgic whimsy and a longing for the past.”

Grafton, a town on the NSW north coast, hosts a jacaranda festival which attracts thousands of visitors to the small town each year.

The Grafton festival features a parade, market stalls, live entertainment and a range of purple food items.

Dr Willis said jacarandas had also become symbolic of Camden over the years.

“There is something unique about the Camden town historic precinct and the trees are a part of that,” he said.

Dr Willis said the festival could fit in well with other Camden events like the Spring Festival and Live and Local.

Camden Resident Action Group president Glenda Davis said she would ‘absolutely support’ a jacaranda festival in Camden.

“The trees are spectacular – in fact I would like to see more planted,” she said.

“A festival would be a great way to get people to come into town and enjoy lunch or a coffee at local businesses and admire the jacaranda trees.”

Light Up Camden usually receives the same amount of funding from the council however this year no funds have been allocated to the annual Christmas event.