Adelaide Christmas Pageant
The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is a Christmas parade held annually in South Australia’s capital of Adelaide.
Of all the Christmas parades in the world, the Pageant is the largest event of its kind, drawing massive crowds of over 400,000 each year. The yearly Christmas event is also televised to millions more people who enjoy the event from home.
Regarded as an iconic part of Adelaide’s history, the pageant is a state institution that has been running since 1933. Staged in early November every year, the Pageant traditionally takes place on a Saturday morning.
The Adelaide Christmas Pageant consists of a procession of 75 sets and 1,700 volunteers. The parade itself includes as many as 57 floats, 15 bands and over 100 clowns!
If that wasn’t festive enough, the parade also offers much more with dancing groups and walking performers as part of the procession.
A visual feast for adults and children alike, the parade takes place in the city-centre, along a route over 3 kilometres long.
Beginning on King William Street, the parade leads to North Terrace and its grand finale where Father Christmas proceeds to the Magic Cave in the David Jones department store.
The Adelaide Christmas Pageant was founded by Sir Edward Hayward, owner of the Adelaide department store John Martin's. Inspired by the American Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Hayward opened the first pageant on 18 November, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. A great success, the first parade held 8 floats and 3 bands, attracting 200,000 spectators.
Father Christmas was introduced into the parade in 1934 and the tradition of the pageant finishing at the Magic Cave was established.
In the mid 1990s, as John Martins was taken over by David Jones Limited, the South Australian Government acquired the event.
It sought sponsorship from the South Australian business community, and sold the naming rights to 6 South Australian Credit Unions who share the honour of supporting the festival. Today, the pageant is managed by Events South Australia, a division of the South Australian Tourism Commission.