From thousands of twinkling lights, to multiple chocolate fountains and spirited Christmas music, guests truly fell down the rabbit hole at this year’s Mermaid’s Christmas Ball. Christmas Ball is always one of the most anticipated nights of the year, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Everyone was having a fabulous time, whether it was their first time or their fourth.
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I remember a laughing crowd, celebration and delirious youth. Then came the hugs; the warmth of human contact in the Scottish winter. A quote from the moon landing was proudly displayed on a banner turning into a photo wall. Everyone was dressed like they were from the 1980s. “Boom, Boom, Boom” – welcome to Szentek.
While ‘The Challenge’ may sound like a cringey 5pm game show, it is actually an annual November shooting competition that brings over 140 shots from universities around the country to East Fife. Some might see the Welly Ball that follows as a quintessentially St Andrews event – playing host to thousands of students in ball gowns, tweed, and most importantly, wellies – but it remains one of the few cross-university events that the town hosts, with attendees from as far as Exeter. The Clay Pigeon Shooting Club somehow manages a finely-tuned schedule starting with a day for the shots and then followed by a ball for both Dinner and After Party guests, greatly to their credit. Welly 2018, though not without its detractions, was yet again a fun experience, with the proceeds going to a great cause. Plus, it had the added bonus of Wellington boots as a barrier both to the usual mud, and toe-stepping revelry of Kinkell.
Twinkling lights, rousing live music and a sea of jewel-tone clad revellers: these are some freeze-frames of the 2017 Mermaids Christmas Ball. Rarely an event that disappoints, this year was no exception as Kinkell Byre was transformed into a Fairytale of New York. Unlike previous years’ themes this year was not modelled after a film, the committee choosing instead to create a glitzy winter wonderland complete with motifs of the city decorating the space. The New York skyline adorned one wall and recognisable street signs dotted the venue, with miles of fairy lights interwoven between.
Welly Ball is coming up this weekend, and as one of St Andrews’ most-attended events of first semester, this year is guaranteed to be a hit. Taking place on Saturday the 11th of November at Kinkell Byre, the ball has increased their capacity and budget to accommodate 2000 guests at both the dinner and the after-party. There will be two music options, one in the main barn and one in the marquee. For the fourth year running Welly Ball will be supporting the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, and the committee is proud to announce that they have been awarded a prize for their continued contributions to this organisation.
This year House of Horror upped the ante with their Dreamland Amusement Park themed event. The ever trustworthy St. Andrews venue of Kinkell Byre was transformed into a replica of the greatest amusement park in history, Dreamland in Coney Island, New York. In 1911, a ride called Hell Gate burst into flames, rendering Dreamland no more by the morning. The Dreamland of 1911 had everything conceivable, from lion tamers and rail roads; and on 31st October 2017, House of Horror introduced new elements to their event such as fairground rides, carnival games and shots upon entry, bringing Dreamland back to life and making House of Horror 2017 the best yet.
If there is one thing that St Andrews is known for across the nation, it is that we, the students, love lavish events and attend them regularly. We convey this illusory image that the price does not matter – we are willing to pay for it – but I know that that is not the truth for a majority of students. In fact, we want to guarantee that our money is going towards something great and, when the Kate Kennedy committee proposes an event that starts at £45, we want the reassurance that skimping on cheaper meals for the next few weeks will be worth it. It is safe to say, however, that the KK knows what they are doing. On the eve of May Dip this year, the Kinkell Byre hosted – handily – one of the most entertaining nights of the year.
Not knowing what to expect from Szentek, Thursday night had me trying on – and subsequently rejecting – every outfit in my wardrobe. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Upon arriving, it quickly became clear that I wasn’t the only one who was uncertain as to the dress code. Guests were wearing everything from glitter covered jumpsuits with skyscraper heels to cut offs, neon face paint and trainers. Bizarrely though, it all seemed to work. Even the dressiest outfit did not seem out of place against the venue’s aesthetic, and the atmosphere was far from self conscious.
The most unusual of dress codes in the most standard of St. Andrew’s settings. In my fourth year I couldn’t resist the one last time to give my social life some welly, at Welly Ball. Welly ball holds a warm place in my heart. Comfy shoes, a sparkly Kinkell and copious amounts of students (who aren’t all from St Andrew’s), what’s not to love? Even better is the fact that the Welly Ball proceeds go to supports the mental health charity Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. A charity that aims to educate on the topic of mental wellbeing, in particular, warning signs of depression. This is an important cause for all students to pay special attention to.