Anyone who walked past the Barron Theater last Thursday or Friday would have seen the massive queue spilling out the building, down the street, and around the corner for the better part of the morning. As always and in true Mermaids fashion, Christmas Ball ticket sales was a theatrical event in itself, complete with music, costumes, props, and sweets. I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to be able to find my way through the crowd, not to mention if President David Patterson or Ball Convener Natalie English would be able to find a spare minute to chat in all the commotion. Two minutes later, the dynamic duo had bounded past the ticket table decked out in Willy Wonka hats, introduced themselves, and promptly offered me some chocolate. If that’s any indication, the Willy Wonka Wonderland-themed Christmas Ball 2013 is sure to be sweeter and merrier than ever.
Dave and Natalie explain that a big question every year is always “Online ticket sales, or in person?” and that the answer is always yes. Given that tickets are now sold out, it’s clear that ball-goers will buy them either way, but the pair insist that in-person ticket sales was the key for them.
“It just gets everyone in the Christmas spirit!” David says. “We’ve got decorations, costumes, music, sweets- are you sure you don’t want one by the way?” Between the acapella performance, the Christmas-y snacks, and the oompa loompas who ran around the Barron all morning, those who came to buy tickets were treated to a small taste of what they can expect on December 1st.
For a £35 investment, you’re getting a pretty sweet deal: a glass of Cava upon entry, a Janettas ice cream cone (yes please), and plenty of sweets, not to mention the absolutely stellar musical lineup. The always-brilliant Alleycats will help you start your night on a high note, and the popular Blueswater Collective will follow them up with an extended set. Special guest Danny Howard will also be making an appearance- you know, just taking a quick break from his Radio One show. (!!!) To top it all off, Santa’s grotto is getting re-vamped to fit with the Willy Wonka theme. “We’re really going all out with the decorations,” Natalie explains. “There’s going to be lollipops everywhere, a pick-n-mix, and we’ve built a purple bridge, like in the film.” They’ve constructed an elaborate winter wonderland meets Willy Wonka set, props and all. If anyone can do it, it’s the Mermaids- the show must go on!
If you were expecting any fallout from the Fellowship’s 600th Anniversary Ball being held the night before, don’t hold your breath. With a shrug and a good-natured grin, David says, “We just really want each other to do well!” Given that both events have sold out, that seems to be the case. That weekend is all set to be a roaring success for both societies and is guaranteed to be a fantastic time for everybody.
Natalie, David, and the rest of the Mermaids have all put in a huge amount of effort to make sure that this Christmas Ball is the best one yet. “There are so many things to do! Emails, invoices, meetings… but we’ve got such an amazing committee. They have all worked incredibly hard and they’re so supportive,” Natalie says. David agrees, saying, “It’s really humbling. Everyone is just so bloody talented. I can’t wait to see it all come together on the night.” “Oh yes,” Natalie adds. “I’m just excited to see all those happy faces!”
Thanks again to David and Natalie for taking the time to sit down with us! Their excitement is infectious, and I after chatting with them I absolutely cannot wait. Christmas Ball has always been my favorite event in St Andrews; I have only lovely memories from the last two, and I’m looking forward to making some more on December 1st!
Buses will leave for Kinkell Byre from outside the Rule from 7:45-9:30.