Today was Caitlin’s first carnival appearance. During the winter they do indoor carnivals called arena’s. I had no idea what to expect from these…and it was weird…very very weird! After collecting her dress and being told the girls who have been doing it longer have really ornate dresses I was expecting wild things!
We arrived and it was in a church hall, another girl who was at the selection was there too so we went over to talk to her. She had already been to one the previous weekend so she explained what went on. Basically it was a cross between my big fat gypsy wedding and a beauty pageant. I think all of the local towns that hold a proper carnival during the summer hold what they call an arena during the winter months. They had to take turns to walk into the room and courtesy to the audience, then the judges and then the “home princess and queen”, although today the queen wasn’t there so it was just 2 young girls about 6 and 8 years old. The judges then pick the girl with the best dress and courtesy in each age group. Like I said weird!!!!
Caitlin absolutely loved getting all dressed up…..
Then the lady explained what she’d be doing. Caitlin looked scared to death while she watched an older girl show her what to do, so I told her to line up but if she didn’t want to do it that was ok, but to try. They started out with the older ones from the younger age group if that makes sense….so Caitlin was near the end. She walked in which I was amazed by, I really didn’t think she would. She courtesied for the audience because there were lots of people in the front signalling her to do it, then same for the judges….but when it came to the home princess and queen they are supposed to wait for you to courtesy then courtesy back to you….but becasue no-one was signalling her she just waited for what seemed like ages…finally the older girl must have realised if she didn’t go first they would be there all night!!! Sure enough as soon the princess courtesied so did Caitlin.
After it was all over (Caitlin didn’t win, but I was really proud of her that she had gone on) I took Caitlin to the loo and she said “I am really proud of myself”…and so she should have been. So although it was all very weird…and a bit wrong in some ways…I actually think it will be really good for Caitlin’s confidence. Her head is in the clouds and she has no idea of the beauty aspect of it so she won’t be affected by that side of it. There was a little girl younger than Caitlin probably about 2 or 3 years old. She wouldn’t go on and her Mum looked really angry and tried to shove her on, she then started crying so her Mum dragged her off and started shouting at her!!!! Very scary!!
There were some bizarre dresses that were pretty over the top. I thought they looked like live toilet roll holders….
One of the older girls was looking after Caitlin while she was waiting outside, and when I asked Caitlin which part she had enjoyed most she said it was waiting with the girl in the yellow dress….
I couldn’t get a photo of her without pretending to be getting Caitlin! But it was a pretty gaudy dress!! I think Caitlin thought she was a real live Queen/Princess…so that might be why it was her favourite bit.
So although it was very weird (and very wrong for the poor little one who got in trouble for not playing ball with it all) Caitlin loved it and since she is oblivious to the “wrong” parts of it…we’ll carry on for her year that she has been elected for. Although I’m hoping the proper carnivals are less odd and a bit more relaxed.