Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Remembering the Best of Banana Festival over Years

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Remembering the Best of Banana Festival over Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Tania Spiers-Phillips

THE Tweed Valley Banana Festival is one of those events that is so distinctly Tweed Valley it's almost a rite of passage.

Those who grew up in the Murwillumbah area have probably ridden on a float, helped decorate a shop window or even taken part in the prince, princess or queen contest.

There have been films made about it, there were days when the festival programs were so packed in the old three-term year August holidays, that it was hard to decide what to go to and the local police were urged not to take holidays because of the huge crowds expected on main day.

Banana stools were tied to every telegraph pole down the main street, nearly every shop dripped with crepe-paper decorations and there were more costumes than a Cosplay convention.

Over the years, themes have encompassed everything from space to the medieval -- this year it's Our Town's Bananas.

Floats will celebrate the quirks of the town with one queen even recreating Murwillumbah's infamous beer truck in the river incident (Swamp Beer anyone?).

For 63 years, the Tweed Valley Banana Festival has been the centre piece of the Murwillumbah community, crowds lining the main streets around the town centre watching floats and giant walking fibreglass fruit pass by, cheering on friends and family or taking part in the functions as diverse as Main Street basketball games, stamp collecting fairs and fashion parades.

Some members of the community have become so synonymous with the event it is hard to imagine a festival without them.

Festival co-ordinator Carol Mudge has a small festival tattoo which she wears proudly and is fast becoming a fixture of the event. But two of the longest-running, staunchest festival supporters are Paul Hart and Phil Taylor.

Retired Murwillumbah High science teacher, turned Banana Festival official photographer, Paul Hart estimates he's taken more than 20,000 photos in the past 40 years while newly proclaimed festival life member Phil Taylor reckons he's never missed one of the 63 events. …

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