More Tasmanians than ever are continuing the 37-year-old family Christmas tradition of bringing their children to the Hobart Christmas pageant.
Offering everything from sausage dogs to Chinese dragons, this year’s pageant drew large crowds to the CBD, with organisers estimating the numbers were up 5,000 on last year.
Helped by sunny weather, about 35,000 people turned out to watch the Christmas festivities, with 2000 people taking part in the parade.
Seventy-three floats took part this year, 13 more than last year, covering a variety of cultures, animals and community organisations.
Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey praised this year’s event, saying it continued to build year-on-year.
“The turn-out was fabulous. It’s got to be so many more people than last year. We had so many more acts as well,” she said.
“You can just see by the crowd here what a wonderful start to the Christmas season it was.”
Compared to previous years, the pageant boasted a larger variety of floats.
“We’ve got a lot more animals in the floats this year, we had a lot of little tiny children, we had some religious themes, we had multicultural ones, we even had a mini Miss Tasmania competition,” Ms Hickey said.
“Lots of marching bands too, which is really fantastic. It really added to the vibrancy.”
Despite a strong challenge from Frozen’s Elsa and Anna, the pageant’s smallest patrons still favoured Santa Claus.
“I came to see Santa. He’s my favourite,” said Meg Stewart.
Gracie Bennett said she was waiting to hear Santa say, “ho, ho, ho”.
Hunter Nicholson came to see “the things”.
But which things exactly?
“The fire engines,” Hunter said. “Nothing else.”
Now in its 37th year, Mayor Hickey said she had high hopes for its 38th.
“Each year we try to do a little bit better, but it will thrive on it’s own success,” she said.
“Having all those extra people that we’ve had this year, it’ll just be bigger than Ben Hur next year.”
The pageant, together with the lighting of the Hobart City Christmas tree, mark the start to a series of celebrations in the lead-up to Christmas Day.
ABC Radio Hobart will be celebrating too, hosting A Not So Silent Night Carols by Candlelight at Tolosa Park in Glenorchy on Saturday, December 9.
The carols are a free community event as part of the ABC Giving Tree appeal.