As October swept away all of our hopes and dreams for our grades this semester, November delivered its own whirlwind of revision, exam, and holiday stress — a typical phenomenon for university students all around the country. At St Andrews, however, we have our own way of dealing with the winter blues: throwing a ball.
At the very end of the month on Sunday 27 November, the Mermaids will be throwing their annual Christmas Ball at none other than Kinkell Byre. The theme of the event will revolve around The Nightmare Before Christmas, and ball convenor Tay Davant has given The Saint an exclusive on what guests can expect from this odd, Tim Burton-esque mishmash of Halloween and Christmas.
On the subject of the theme and how it will be incorporated into the venue, Davant said, “In terms of decorations, this year’s theme will definitely make us stand out a bit from past years as we have worked to blend two holidays into one. We will still have a few of the Christmas Ball staples, such as the upside down Christmas trees and Santa’s grotto, but they will have a little Nightmare Before Christmas twist!”
Of course, the Christmas ball committee would still like to keep many details of the event secret in order to drum up suspense and ensure that guests are thoroughly astonished upon entrance. Guests should “keep an eye out for some of [their] favourite characters from the film, and be sure to visit Christmas Town to grab a bite to eat.” Rumour has it that there may even be sightings of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King himself, at the ball.
It is indeed a change from Christmas Balls of times past, which have never attempted to add a Halloween element into the mix. The theme itself is enough to spark the curiosity of the dozens of party-goers who devotedly waited in front of their computer screens to snag one of the tickets, which were sold out in a matter of minutes. Though the controversy over ticket sales, which was an online-only ordeal in early November, ignited many unfair bidding wars, the event itself has not lost any of its momentum despite anger over the scalpers.
Although many will speak endlessly of the overuse of Kinkell Byre as a venue for balls and other higher-end St Andrews events, there is no better location for the Christmas Ball to be set. While it is true that multiple events per month are held at the familiar barn-turned-party locale, time and time again various event committees have done an excellent job in making the venue totally unrecognisable from its usual state with the right décor, music, and ambience.
Guests who attended the Christmas Ball last year will be delighted to know that the committee members have “worked closely with the charities who run [the] cloakroom, to sort out how to avoid the problems that [they] faced in that area last year.” More improvements from last year’s ball will include the layout for the marquee, as well as vendors such as Cheesy Toast Van waiting outside for hungry guests. Ludo & Lolo’s Crêpes will be making a reappearance at Kinkell Byre after their surge in popularity over the past month at events like House of Horror, the Welly Ball, and Szentek.
As always, is it truly a ball if there are no freebies? Upon arrival, guests can treat themselves to a glass of bubbly to start the night out right. Complimentary Jannetta’s ice cream and a chocolate fountain will await sweet-toothed party-goers, among many other various tricks and treats.
The musical line-up for the ball is set to be one that no one will forget, featuring JazzWorks, Pink Eye on Picture Day, Black Sheep, DJ Charlotte Adams, and headliner DJ Chris Stark from BBC Radio 1. Our very own St Andrews a capella groups, The Accidentals and The Alley Cats, will be performing as well. In other words, the dance floor is predicted to be jam-packed. While taking a break from boogying, guests can either have their picture taken with Santa and Zero in the grotto, or make a beeline for one of the three bars to try a signature Mermaids cocktail.
With a theme like this, it is no wonder than the entire student body spiralled into a frenzy over Christmas Ball ticket sales. The committee has done everything to make sure that the event is not only a success, but a night to set itself apart from all other St Andrews balls. So get your Santa Claus hats and jack-o-lanterns ready, because Christmas at St Andrews is winding up to be a chill-inducing holiday soiree.