The Best Christmas/Halloween/Summer Parade Ever!

Trip Start May 31, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Friday, December 14, 2012

The annual Kingston SE Santa Claus parade is an event that everyone in town seems to get involved in, in some way or other. It is equal parts Christmas celebration, summer festival and Halloween (in a weird way). As the floats for the parade go down the street and the participants on said floats throw candies (or toss lollies, as a real Australian would put it), the neighbourhood kids run alongside with pillow cases, catching the lollies. Some of the kids had those plastic jack'o'lanterns for collecting lollies as well. The trick is to throw some of the small candies to distract the bigger kids (who're scooping up all the candy) and then heave a handful of the best candies to the smaller kids behind them. How do I know this? Because I'm one of the best lolly tossers out there. I also 'accidentally' hit a kid in the head with some candy (what? He was in the way!), and I also tricked another kid into thinking he was spilling all of the candy out of his bag. I'm so glad we were invited to take part in the Santa Claus parade, it was so much fun!

Kara was an elf (a pretty attractive elf if you ask me) and I was a snowman (again, pretty damn attractive) and we were on a float entitled 'Santa's Workshop'. I wanted to be a snowman because I really wanted to overhear this conversation; "Who's the idiot dressed as the snowman in Australia?" "Ah, it's just that Canadian bloke!". People dress up in costumes that aren't even Christmas related (or are only marginally related), hence another Halloween crossover. We saw a group of penguins and a whole family of pirates.

Every year, a prize is given for the best float in the parade. Paula Bawden, one of Kara's coworkers has vowed to win that prize, but has been thwarted every year by the local hardware store. In order to win this year, Paula would have to top a bunch of dogs in Santa hats, which is how they win every year according to Paula. Ever since we met her in August when we moved here, she's been brainstorming ideas for a float. Paula's husband, Angas, runs a construction company in town and together, they had put together this amazing float for 'Santa's Workshop'. They built a shed-like structure and covered it in fake snow, candy canes and tinsel, loaded it on the back of a flat bed truck and filled the inside with hay bales for us to sit on, fake presents and enough lollies to fill the neighbourhood kids with sugar to last until next Christmas. I also ate a lot of the lollies and encouraged the kids on the float with us to eat as much as they could as well. Then I told the parents of said kids, after the parade, that I forbade the kids from eating the candy. It was a win-win situation!

Following the parade, we all drove back on the float to where our cars were parked. Along the way back, Kara started 'popping' me, as I was filled with air filled plastic packing bubbles to make me more rotund. Well, the kids on the float liked the idea of that and a new game was created, called 'Punch Frosty'. It was all fun and games until I felt a little hand pinch my bum, to which I replied, "All the packing's already been popped back there kid.' Afterwards, we all met in the park and ate doughnuts and watched the fireworks. There was live music and food and drink everywhere. The place was packed! Kingston and it's surrounding area has more people than I thought, and it was really nice to see everyone out. Kara recognized most of the people because she deals with locals on a daily basis, but I knew almost no one. The fireworks display was very impressive, especially for such a small town. The finale was really grand, it lit up the whole sky. I can really see why so many people come out every year and are so proud of the proceedings.

But back to Paula and Angas Bawden and the nagging questions that you must have. Were the judges sufficiently impressed with Santa's Workshop? Did we win the 'float of the year' award? Did the dogs wear hats again this year? Yes, yes and I don't know. The judges were impressed enough to hand over first prize to Paula and Angas, and Paula can now live out the rest of her life happily. As for the dogs, I didn't see them and can't verify whether they wore hats; in fact, we'll never know whether they wore hats this year, or even if they showed up. Actually, Paula will never know whether she won against the hatted dogs fair-and-square or whether the dogs were a no-show. Sleep well, Paula, sleep well.
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