It’s “really exciting that Santa is going to the Adelaide Town Hall”, Premier Steven Marshall says. (ABC News: Isabel Dayman)
The Adelaide Christmas Pageant will no longer end at the Magic Cave, ending an 86-year-old tradition.
- The Adelaide Christmas Pageant began in 1932 and is Australia’s largest parade
- It has ended at the Magic Cave for most of its history
- From 2019, the pageant will finish at the Adelaide Town Hall
Instead, Australia’s most well-attended parade will end at the Adelaide Town Hall after David Jones pulled its sponsorship for the event.
Father Christmas’s Magic Cave has been based at David Jones’ Rundle Mall store since 2000, after previously being located at the now-closed John Martin’s department store.
The big man in red has made his way to the Magic Cave every year of the pageant, except in its first year, 1932.
The pageant attracts more than 300,000 people, making it Australia’s largest parade and one the country’s largest events.
David Jones’ parent, the South African listed retailer Woolworths, was forced to write down the value of its Australian assets by $437 million earlier this month.
Woolworths now values David Jones at less than half the $2.1 billion it paid for it in 2014.
Credit Unions SA finished its 23-year sponsorship of the event last year.
North Terrace to stay part of new route
The new route will be about 80 metres longer than last year’s.
Pageant director Brian Gilberton said the new path still went along many of the same streets it has over the past 87 years.
“This time we will enter North Terrace from Pulteney Street and turn left into North Terrace at the intersection with Pulteney Street and then we’ll head down the North Terrace boulevard all the way, then turn left and then have that wonderful vision straight down to Victoria Square,” he said.
“That’ll be on the western side of King William Street and then we’ll stop just out in front of the town hall.”
The pageant previously ended on North Terrace outside David Jones.
Mr Gilbertson said the pageant would still fulfil its purpose of bringing Father Christmas to Adelaide.
A proposal to not include North Terrace in the route was rejected.
“There were several options on the table for discussion, as you’d imagine,” Mr Gilbertson said.
“Closing down the city on pageant day is a big exercise so there were several options put up, but ultimately the route that I’ve just described to you was selected and it’s a great result.”
The pageant will end with Father Christmas being greeted by the pageant’s “royal family” — the pageant king and queen — and then he will be handed over to the Lord Mayor for an official welcome.
Premier Steven Marshall said it was “really exciting that Santa is going to go to the Adelaide Town Hall”.
“It will be a longer route this year, which will allow more of our children and older South Australian to see the fabulous pageant that we have in South Australia,” he said.
“And of course then we’ll have Father Christmas on the balcony at Adelaide Town Hall waving just like The Beatles were so many years ago.”
The Beatles greeted huge crowds from the town hall in Adelaide when they visited the city in 1964.