25 Oct 2023

Early Bird Survival Guide

We know who you are. You're there counting down with us until Pageant Day, not just from a couple of weeks out, but even 50 or 100+ days away.

You plan your spot, pack your bag, and get a very early night's sleep for a very early morning.

You bring your camper chair, your sleeping bag, your wet weather gear, and a variety of other things that will have you prepared for all weather conditions and other situations.

It’s a tough job for the mums, dads, grandmas, grandpas, brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles, who camp out on the roadside from the early hours (or even the night before) to secure the best seats right at the Blue Honour Line. They are the Early Birds.

It's a weird and wonderful tradition in South Australia - where a small but passionate group of people commit to getting the best spot for their family and friends. If you're interested in becoming an Early Bird for the Pageant, we would like to welcome you!

To make life a little bit easier, here are six tips to survive the wee hours of Saturday morning (or Friday night if you are especially motivated!)

Check the weather and…
Wear warm clothes - especially if it’s a chilly night! There’s nothing worse than sitting in your deckchair in your summer best on a cold and clear night.  Wear enough layers so you can peel them off come morning when the sun rises and you’ll have a perfect pageant day!

Thermos' are your friends!
Tea, coffee, biscuits. Make sure your supplies are topped up for the night ahead – especially if you’re parking yourself south of Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga where the proximal food and beverage options decline in the more residential part of the CBD. Plus, once the non-Early Birds start to arrive in the morning, you want to be settled in for the fun and not have to run off for a snack run!

Take a Seat
Probably the most important thing for the Pageant Camper is a place to sit! Sure, you might be lucky and snag a bench or a bus stop, but if you want that prime seat at the Blue Honour Line, you need a foldable chair to sit yourself on. Picnic blankets and small kids chairs are also highly recommended. Remember to be courteous to other Pageant goers and not bring ladders, pop-up shelters and the like that might block other people's views. Just don’t forget the spare chairs for the rest of the family!

More Snacks!
You can never have enough snacks really. Biscuits, fruit, and maybe even a choccy or two are a great way to sustain yourself through the night and into the morning. Some even go the full monty and pack breakfast foods to enjoy as the sun rises! 

Enjoy the Experience with your Fellow Campers
Even when you look down at your watch and see 5:00am staring back at you, remember that there are other true heroes making this annual pilgrimage manning the deckchairs with you, and the kids will thank you for it. Have a chat, share some snacks if someone else is short, and talk about your favourite floats. All of you Early birds are a special bunch of people! 

Bring some Pre-Pageant Activities for the Kids
One day the kids that you so kindly reserved a coveted spot for might thank you, but for now, we can all agree that it's the little ones that arrive hours after you, full of excitement and energy for the morning ahead that makes the camp out all worth it. There is often some time between their arrival and the official start of the Pageant, so remember to bring a couple of things to keep them occupied until the first float comes down the Route. Colourful chalk is always a winner - it will keep them busy and having fun as they join all of the other Pageant kids in decorating the Route!

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