Gee, that was one big day, and as you’ll gather from my comments, it just got better as it went on.
The parade was held in frigid temperatures under a low sky and an hour or so earlier to allow people to get to the soccer. Whether it was because I was still in recovery mode from opening night, or not, I felt the parade lacked a little sparkle this year. Literally, in the case of the fire brigade float which has always been a highlight with actual fires on the float to musical accompaniment. This year it was a damp squid – bring back Lyall McGregor, I say.
Don’t get me wrong – there were certainly some good entries – the barista making coffees ‘on the go’ made the Joe’s Garage float really stand out, and the Earnslaw one was a deserving winner. But overall, entries seemed down a bit and there didn’t appear to be the same level of community involvement we’ve come to expect.
Onto the soccer, which thankfully coincided with the cloud cover lifting. This was my first experience of live top-level soccer and the skills, especially the tackling, and the pace of the game were something to behold even though it took till the second half for a goal to be scored – perhaps being an exhibition game I thought we’d have seen some more goal-scoring.
The players were slipping over a fair bit but I gather they were pretty happy with the surface.
The only disappointment was the size of the crowd, despite good promotion for the event. But this is an event worth building on and I’m sure it’ll get a lot more support second time round.
My last event was the ball – and after experiencing some average ones over the years, finally the jackpot’s been struck.
For a change it looked like a sell-out (maybe due to a more approachable ticket price and enhanced, I concede, by a couple of tables of soccer players) but from early on, ballgoers were ready to get on the dance floor.
Apparently less was spent this year on theming the Millennium ballroom, but it didn’t show and the food, which is often pretty average at balls, was more than passable.
But the big ups go firstly to the two singing ensembles – with the Hitmen including our very own Simon Green being very strong – and the ballgoers themselves, many of whom had fantastic masks which stayed on much of the night and were glammed to the max. A highlight was obviously the man wearing the Transformer mask who also got up on stage and did a good Michael Jackson moon-dance.
Roll on day three.