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The National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant will go on in 2020!

11 September 2020

While the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant traditionally sees over 300,000 South Australian families and children line the streets of Adelaide behind the blue honour line, the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic means that this year, things will be a little different.

The team at Events South Australia have been working closely with SA Health, the South Australian Police and our wonderful naming rights partner National Pharmacies to make sure Father Christmas can be delivered to the children of South Australia as safely as possible.

We’re excited to announce that for the first time in Pageant history, the 88th National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant will be a twilight event held at Adelaide Oval on Saturday the 14th of November.

A COVID-safe crowd will watch the performance at Adelaide Oval, whilst the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant will be broadcast live on Channel Nine to thousands of homes and to communities around South Australia. To the families who are watching from the comfort of their own home, the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant will aim to bring the community together across social media platforms through interactive activities and through the live broadcast on Channel Nine.

With the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant traditionally signifying the start of the festive season, Premier Steven Marshall shares the excitement in bringing the popular event once again to South Australian families. 

“We’re grateful for the efforts of South Australians in the fight against the global Coronavirus pandemic – which has put our state in a world-leading position”, said Premier Steven Marshall.

“This year’s Pageant – which is such a wonderful Christmas tradition for the state - will be even more special for families – after what has been a really tough year for everyone.”

Event Manager and Creative Director Brian Gilbertson says “In 2020, COVID-19 has seen us adjust our traditional Pageant format and route, but with the support of National Pharmacies we are beyond excited to deliver this magical event to the magnificent Adelaide Oval and create new history for our Pageant story.”

Mr Gilbertson says, “One of the reasons we can deliver the Pageant in this way, in this year, is because of the diligence shown by all South Australians in maintaining good social distancing, hygiene and sanitisation”.

“The tradition of the Pageant will continue in 2020, and although it might look a little different this year, what it means to our community remains the same,” says Vito Borrello, Chief Executive Officer, National Pharmacies.

The National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant will remain a free event and ticketing will be allocated through a fair ballot system, with more information on ticketing to be announced in October.

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“The legacy of the Pageant hasn’t changed.  It is about celebrating the joy of family, of community and welcoming Father Christmas to Adelaide,” says Mr Gilbertson.

“We will all celebrate the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant this year and remain united as families and communities in welcoming Father Christmas to South Australia.”

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With a different Pageant comes many questions! We've gathered as much information as possible to help answer your questions:

It will be a twilight event, with the start-time still to be confirmed.

Although we will have our beloved floats, walking sets, bands and dance groups, this will be a Pageant of a different kind, more of an opening ceremony format than the traditional Pageant format.

We are excited to be delivering this, but do not intend to reveal all at this time – we want people to come along or watch with our exclusive broadcast partner on Nine or 9Now.

What we can say is we will take the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge all those on the front-line who fought our fires earlier in the year.

Most South Australians will be watching the Pageant from the comfort of their own homes this year – it will be broadcast exclusively on Nine and 9Now.  At Adelaide Oval there will be COVID-safe numbers able to watch the parade live.  As we move closer to the event, we will communicate further details on this.

We have submitted our COVID Management Plan and had in principal approval for 25,000 people to be live at Adelaide Oval on 14 November, but that number will be confirmed when we put the tickets online and is subject to change.

We are confident that the Pageant team in conjunction with the team at the Adelaide Oval will deliver a safe event for all those present. We look forward to hosting South Australian families at the iconic location on Pageant Day.

Beyond the live crowd at the Oval, we are thankful that we have such a great broadcast partner in Channel Nine, and families will be able to enjoy the Pageant from their lounge rooms this year.

We are working with Ticketek for ticketing and we will be releasing on-sale dates as we move closer to the event.  We are anticipating that information about ticketing will be made in early October.

No, the Pageant remains a free family event.

We are currently developing a ballot system for spectators at the Adelaide Oval. We will release full details around ticketing within the next month.

The National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant will be broadcast exclusively in South Australia on Nine and 9Now.

The broadcast will be between 7.30pm and 9.15pm.  Exact details will be shared closer to the event.

The National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant will be broadcast exclusively and LIVE in South Australia on Nine and 9Now.

We are encouraging everyone to enjoy and celebrate the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant at home with loved ones.  This will be a day to start some new traditions, such as setting up your Christmas tree, drawing your own blue honour lines, recognizing our first responders, or creating a mini-Christmas feast for the afternoon.

We are also working behind the scenes to deliver an incredible social media program where we can engage with as many people as possible and share and celebrate our Pageant Day.

We can appreciate that for some children, it may be past their bedtime. but we believe it is a very unique and special time.  We are so excited to share this wonderful experience and event.

The Pageant can be viewed exclusively from your home on Nine and viewed anytime on demand on 9Now, for those looking for more flexibility. There will also be a special replay on Nine on Christmas Day.

We have been incredibly fortunate that our major sponsor, National Pharmacies, has been a great support to the Pageant team during this year’s planning process. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the support of the South Australian Government of course, along with our event partners including Channel Nine, SAPOL, SA Health, Adelaide Oval and all who have helped us continue the tradition of delivering Father Christmas to the people of South Australia.

South Australians have done a fantastic job in maintaining social distancing and protocol within the State which has largely kept the community safe from COVID-19.

Despite this, we are still living within a pandemic. The three key considerations in delivering safe events are distancing, density and contact tracing. The traditional Pageant format, which sees up to 300,000 spectators line the streets of Adelaide, was simply not possible given the current environment.

We have been working closely with SA Health, SAPOL and our event partners to deliver a safe event and the best possible National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant for the families of South Australia.

At this point, we cannot predict what the COVID-19 situation will be between now and Pageant Day. We have made a decision based on what we know now, keeping the health and safety of South Australians our priority.

There were a number of different scenarios that were being explored, all with the intention to deliver the best National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant to the families of South Australia.

The Pageant team have worked closely with SA Health and SAPOL to put in place measures to ensure we deliver a COVID Safe event.

We have an approved COVID Management Plan and we will make sure all mitigation strategies are in place as we deliver this magical event for the families of South Australia.