Credit Union Christmas Pageant – Stardust Castle Tour

It’s official! Only 7 weeks until Christmas which means less than 2 weeks until the 2017 Credit Union Christmas Pageant!

Last week, we were invited to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and first look at this year’s pageant floats at Stardust Castle.

Pageant Director Brian Gilbertson led the tour, sharing the history and background of the Credit Union Christmas Pageant.

Work on the iconic pageant starts in February (with approvals for new floats completed by Christmas the year prior) and materials are then purchased and construction begins. With a 320,000 strong crowd – the largest number of people coming together for any one event in the entire Southern Hemisphere – an effective risk-management plan is also put into place around this time.

With the credit unions taking up around 30 floats in the pageant, the others are sent out to other sponsors. The pageant organisers send out costume sizes to these sponsors who then choose the people who fit the sizes to represent their organisation on pageant day. From September, the costume-fitters fit a person every five minutes from 8am to 4pm before making adjustments, every day leading up to the pageant.

On pageant day, it is an enormous effort to bring all the floats from Stardust Castle to South Terrace, with work beginning at 3am! At 6am, under police escort, all lights to the city are shut off and the floats are taken through in convoys. Once the floats arrive, mechanics go through to check them once more to make sure they can all withstand the heat of the day, going through the route at 4km/h.

With less than a fortnight to go, there was still a lot of work being done and we were shown some works in progress of new floats to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Brian pins the magic of the pageant down to the ‘many people from all walks of life coming together on the same day to celebrate one thing’ to create a great community.

To celebrate its 85th year this year, the pageant opening will feature 85 pipers and 85 Celtic dancers and will begin on South Terrace to finish up on North Terrace in the CBD.

The 2017 Credit Union Christmas Pageant is on Saturday 18th November with the parade officially commencing at 9:30am and will be televised live on Channel 9.

Words and Photos by Geena Ho

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