Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Adelaide Christmas Pageant

The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is an annual tradition here in South Australia which sort of heralds the official start of the Christmas season in Adelaide. The pageant really is a big parade that goes through the city. It has marching bands, clowns and over 50 floats showcasing many Christmas fairytale and fantasy scenes. The last float always has Santa Claus ( aka in Australia as Father Christmas ) to wind it up much like the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. The pageant never fails to delight the kids and not a few adults as well.

For the past two years, we were content to watch the specatacle on TV as the parade wound it's way up Adelaide. This year we decided to go and watch the parade for ourselves knowing the kids would be big enough to enjoy every minute of it.

The parade usual starts to move around 10AM but we thought of going early to avoid the traffic rush, which in Adelaide really means more than 10 cars in front of you at the stop light. We parked near the Adelaide central market and walked to Victoria Square which is in the exact city center. Suprisingly, I was able to get a nice spot not too crowded with people while the girls stood in line for free balloons.

It was only forcast to be a cloudy morning but as we were waiting for the parade to start, we could feel a little bit of drizzle. We huddled under the umbrella and the boy started going "Oh No! Rain!". I told him to keep on saying "Rain! Go Away!" which he did, diligently. Soon enough, the rain stopped and the parade began.

As the clowns and marching bands moved into view, I could see my daughter's face light up. She has seen this parade once before but she was stil small then, too young to remember. This time, she was watching everything so intently and after the first few floats went by declared to us that this was the best pageant ever.

Bianca wanted us to take pictures only of the floats she liked. There were some floats she was scared of like the Pirate ship float and the Haunted House. Nico loved the marching bands and would shout "Another one!" when a new band would march up. He would also go "Boom, boom, boom" in time with the drums. Soon enough Santa rolled around and all the kids went wild like he was a rock star or something. This marked the end of the parade and you could see everyone start packing up and leaving after enjoying year of the Christmas Pageant.

The whole affair was extremely well organized with lots of free stuff for kids like balloons, face painting and even bottles of water. They even reserve sections of the parade route specially for disabled kids to have a chance to enjoy the pageant as well. Adelaide being such a small town compared to Sydney or Melbourne, they still know how to organize a big event. I was quite impressed how the street was cleared not 2 hours after the parade with garbage crews and tractors removing barriers and rubbish right away. The streets were all clear and clean by noon and traffic resumed to normal.

After the parade, we met up with a friend for lunch and hang around the Adelaide Central Market for some shopping. It was a good day but it seemed that Bianca was still wanted to do more. As we were going home in the afternoon, she still wanted to play in the park. As if the whole day of parades and shopping wasn't enough for her!


The parade lasted about and hour or so and we later learned that over 300,000 people went to the city to watch it which made for a very big crowd. It seems that it's almost a guarantee that in an event as big as this that kids oftentimes get lost. We saw one kid wandering around after the parade looking for his Mom. Good thing the police were ready for incidents like this and found the parents. Some parents are more prepared and we saw them before the parade writing their mobile phone numbers on their kids arms. This is the first time I've seen it but it seems like a simple and good idea. For our part, we just dressed the kids up in bright colors so they can be easily seen.


Dominique said...

Wah! We have parades almost every month here in Dumaguete, but none like that. Hee hee.

Hey, guys, how about turning full feeds on for your RSS? That way, I can read the whole article on my feed reader?

chaz said...

Your wish is my command! Full feeds for you!