Big Top Ball: a circus extravaganza

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Photo by Lorcan o'Brien

Themed balls are always exciting and are often those enjoyed the most by the student community. This year, the organisers truly brought the circus to St Andrews: upon arriving to lower college lawn, the red and white circus marquees could already be spotted. What’s more, upon entering the neatly cordoned-off Sallies Quad, I was welcomed by the Ball Convenor, making me optimistic about the outcome of the evening. If the outside of the marquees incited excitement, the interior most certainly did, with the entrance leading to the game stalls, token stall and face painting section, rather than a simple dance floor and bar. The tents were rather easy to navigate, as there were signs directing partygoers. In spite of the last minute setback of the starting time, the evening got off to a great start.

Photo by Lorcan o'Brien
Photo by Lorcan o’Brien

One problem initial issue facing many partygoers was with the distance between the cloakroom (located in school II) and the actual tent where the ball was being held. Understandably, it was out of the organisers’ control, but otherwise the cloakroom was well-staffed and run in an orderly fashion. Nevertheless, shivering girls in thin dresses could be seen sprinting from school II to the marquees.

However, Big Top Ball definitely succeeded in the music department. There were three different features (NELFUN, Black Sheep and SAUNIT), all of which had the partygoers dancing the night away and singing at the top of their lungs.

The drinks on offer were well-priced and tasted delicious, and the bar was constantly busy with partygoers who were keen to flaunt their moustached straws. It was well-planned from the organisers’ perspective to place a water dispenser right by the bar so that people could get water without having to go through the dance floor.

Another stall rather popular with the guests was face painting, which enabled those who weren’t quite dressed for the circus to add a ‘circus-y’ touch to their outfits. My personal favourite? The fortune-teller, who gave me a rather insightful reading which had me nodding along in assent and my friends grinning knowingly. We went back to the stall again to have another friend’s fortune read, and to my surprise (being a sceptic), they were told completely different things, individualized to their personality. Other stalls on offer were the Oxfam charity raffle, as well as the cotton candy and popcorn stalls.

In terms of food options, Big Top Ball departed from the ball-staple, Janettas, providing amazing alternatives such as the aforementioned popcorn stall (with the amusing message of ‘buy popcorn or the puppies will cry and it will be your fault’), Dervish, Pick & Mix and finally, cupcakes.

The token system used was a mixed bag, with guests having to pay £5 for 10 tokens. The bar and Dervish seemed to accept money while the games stalls accepted tokens. Perhaps if there was a greater acceptance of these tokens as currency it would have been a much smoother experience. All in all, for £30, Big Top Ball was the place to be this Saturday night: the campaign definitely fulfilled their promise of a “fun and welcoming ball”; I await next year’s with great excitement.

Photo by Lorcan o'Brien
Photo by Lorcan o’Brien

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