Dreams came true this week for an Adelaide Botanic High School student as the official mini float for the 90th year of the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant was unveiled at Stardust Castle.
This year’s competition winner, 15-year-old Charlotte Exelby from North Adelaide, received a special invitation to the festive workshop where all Pageant floats are created, to catch a first glimpse of her completed design ahead of its debut on Saturday 12 November.
The mini float will feature as part of the official National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant 90th anniversary celebration. This year’s annual event also marks the Pageant’s much-anticipated return to the streets of Adelaide, having been held at the Oval in 2020 and 2021.
A total of 370 entries were submitted to this year’s mini float competition from children in communities across the state, signifying the importance of the event to South Australian families.
It is this community spirit that sits at the heart of Charlotte’s winning entry.
Coming from a long line of Pageant-goers, Charlotte’s design, suitably named ‘Christmas Chalk’, is themed on the much-loved tradition which sees children transform the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant route with colourful chalk creations as they wait to welcome Father Christmas to Adelaide.
“My absolute favourite memory of the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant is sitting with my cousins behind the Blue Honour Line waiting for the Pageant to begin and doing chalk drawings as we wait in anticipation for Father Christmas to arrive,” says Charlotte.
“We would be listening to festive songs on the loudspeakers while drawing Christmas trees, baubles and snowmen – it was magical. Winning the mini float competition is something that children across South Australia dream of. It has been great to visit Stardust Castle and see my drawing transform into a full-scale mini float and I can’t wait to see it on Pageant Day.”
As the competition winner, Charlotte not only gets to see her drawing come to fruition and a behind the scenes tour of Stardust Castle, but she also gets a reserved space to watch the parade and $500 from National Pharmacies.
Second place went to Class 3/4 at Mannum Community College, with a prize of $250 and third place was awarded to Genevieve McArthur who won $100, donated by National Pharmacies.
Brian Gilbertson, National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant Director said that the unveiling of the mini float was an exciting milestone for this year’s Pageant.
“Charlotte should be extremely proud of her design as it perfectly captures the spirit of the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant and one of the many family activities that have been cemented in the traditions of Pageant Day,” said Mr Gilbertson.
“On behalf of the entire event team, I would like to congratulate Charlotte for creating a truly wonderful mini float. We thoroughly look forward to featuring it on the big day when it will be showcased to thousands of residents and visitors.”
Vito Borrello, Chief Executive Officer of National Pharmacies, agreed that Charlotte’s mini float encapsulates the passion that South Australian’s hold for the major event.
“Charlotte’s ‘Christmas Chalk’ mini float will make a terrific addition to this year’s Pageant line-up. It will spark the imagination of children for Pageants to come while also unlocking cherished memories that adults have of Pageants gone past,” said Mr Borrello.
“It is a fitting tribute on this 90th year as the Pageant returns to the streets of Adelaide and families can once again line our city to view the spectacular festive display – and continue the long-standing chalk drawing tradition that Charlotte so clearly and passionately reflects upon.”