– by Georgia Kartas
(photo credit: Adam Thomas)
“I know you’re confused. Christmas in March. You’re thinking: is this festival an idiot?”
No better words could sum up what took place in Tocumwal Lane on Sunday. Walking into Christmas Lane, the expected alleyway stench was masked by the strange combined smell of sunscreen and complimentary popcorn. Immediately after taking up residence on a milk crate, one of three Santa Clauses offers us sunscreen while hitching up his gargantuan Christmas stockings that serve as makeshift pants. Another jovially cries out “Merry Christmas!” as he staggers about with a square pillow stuffed up his red shirt and a string of plastic hot dogs in tow.
On a stage garlanded with tinsel and giant glittering stars plays 8-piece band Pocket Fox wearing green and red knitted sweaters. The alleyway is dotted with Christmas trees and spray-painted (empty) gift boxes. Around the fringes you can partake in a vintage styling session, peruse wares from local designers and retailers, sample some cupcakes or snags, and wash it all down with an ice-cold, Christmas straw-adorned coconut.
The onslaught of entertainment that follows includes the likes of Afrobeat ensemble Nyash!, Canberra Dance Theatre Teens Bollywood, hip-hop dance group Project Beats, Poncho Circus’s dazzling acrobatic spectacles, hyper-colourful African dance and drumming Troupe Olabisi, a Canberra birthday-themed choir medley, and Dutch trio DeWolff. We’re even treated to a revival of the high school Beep Test that, despite lacking any relevance to the day’s events, holds the crowd captivated as competitors run back and forth to a specially put-together soundtrack.
Later on, surf rock band Space Party plays among the sentimental sprinkling of replica snow, and a flash mob organised by fellow Papercuts reviewer Lucy Nelson overtakes the dance floor. Post-mob, the Great Santa Battle take place, in which Santas compete for the title of True Santa with a hohoho-off, gift-hoarding, and cardboard sword swashbuckling. Fats Homicide conclude the day and, on a very contemplative note, finish with a song dedicated to what reindeers think about when they’re hauling Santa’s sleigh around the globe.
And suddenly, it’s over. We’re left with that same feeling you get on Christmas when the roast turkey is reduced to a lukewarm half-eaten carcass and the only booze left is long-forgotten sherry. The magical excitement that comes with the festive season fades, and we’re wondering what the hell just happened.
But don’t worry – if you’re all very good boys and girls, Christmas will come around again, or at least some kind of hybrid interpretation of it.
Georgia Kartas has been published in Spun, Burley and Us Folk, and blogs about fashion and shiny things at www.red-magpie.com