Nerves. Wardrobe. Makeup. On Stage. After-Party!
Like many others, on Saturday morning, (8 November), I was up at 5.30am and on my way to the city for the Adelaide Credit Union Christmas Pageant. After living in Adelaide for two years I had heard about the Pageant and wanted to see it. This was my year.
Driving around until I found a park, walking along the street and seeing the crowds who were already positioned in the front row, it was clear, they had been up earlier than me!
But I wasn’t there as a spectator. I was there to participate. I walked the Pageant route at 6am on my way to Pulteney Grammar in order to be IN my first Pageant.
The preparations in the lead up – the rehearsals, and online training – hadn’t quite prepared me for the scene that greeted me. Clowns, characters and volunteers moved around the school. Some already fully made-up. Others in costume without being fully transformed into character yet. It felt like I was back in high school getting ready for a performance and that old feeling of nerves and excitement hit me.
Lucky for me, I was with a few seasoned Pageant characters, our organisation has been involved in the Christmas Pageant for 19 years. Off to wardrobe we quickly got changed and I transformed into Jill (of Jack and Jill fame). We were then given a hearty breakfast before heading into make-up, and then it was time for photography where Jack and I practiced our performance. We’d decided on playing Jack and Jill on their way to fetch the water (rather than the falling down part). We also learnt there is a second verse to Jack and Jill which I was never aware of.
By 9am we were on our way to the Once Upon a Storybook float. It was at this point I realised the true scale of the Pageant – and felt excitement like every other kid on the day – taking photos of the characters and floats along the way.
Lined up and ready we ran through our roles and posted a few photos on social media, and before I knew it our float driver had started up the engine, the Fairy-tale rap music had kicked in and the Pageant had started.
Feeling a little like a fish out of water I turned to watch what other people were doing. Heading out of the school was our warm up and as soon as I realised that everyone was playing in character, smiling and waving, I forgot about not knowing what to do and started skipping and dancing along with everyone else.
Before I knew it we were on the Pageant route. Turning onto the main road took my breath away – I still can’t believe Adelaide had so many people in the city on one day – smiling and getting into the spirit of Christmas, it really was exciting. I found myself with a big smile on my face, waving and skipping along. The feeling of not knowing what to do gave way to knowing that everyone was there to have fun.
There were lots of high fives with kids, wishing them Merry Christmas and waving. Every time I thought I was feeling tired I realised that none of the people I could see had seen this part of the Parade yet and I got a new burst of energy.
Before I knew it we were on North Terrace walking past the main stage and then it was over and the floats were being directed to wherever the floats live for another year, and all of the Pageant characters and clowns were put onto buses – full of energy and sharing stories of how much fun the experience was.
When we got back to the school, make-up was being wiped away and we transformed back into ourselves complete with our regular clothes and just like Christmas Day, it was over before I realised. The Pageant is now a day to remember for the year.
With tired legs and sore cheeks from smiling too much, I will fondly remember my first Christmas Pageant and look forward to experiencing many more.
– Kerry-Anne Smith