Saturday 25 November 2023

CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BIG TOP: Event Review

WHAT: Christmas Under The Big Top
WHEN: 24 Nov - 24 Dec 2023
WHERE: Burnley Oval
PRESENTED BY: Damian Syred

Christmas Under The Big Top

The genie is out of the bottle, or perhaps it is more correct to say the Santa is out of the North Pole. Christmas is nearly here, merchandising has already hit the stores and some people have already put up their Christmas lights (WTF?). It's all becoming very real and - just in time - the magic of Christmas has come to Burnley Oval in the form of Christmas Under The Big Top.

Christmas Under The Big Top is a unbelievable event full of fun and magic for toddlers whith just enough consideration for the parents to make it fun for all. To be honest, part of what makes it fun is how much joy and play the kids get from all the activities. This event is possibly the best value for money parents are likely to find in the festive lead up. There are 3 circus tents and the journey through them results in a joy filled, wonder filled, food filled night full of laughs, screams of excitement, and great family memories. 

The first tent is all about photo opportunities, hands on activities, and play for the kids. There are so many places to take photos with snow people, on thrones, and even in Sesame Street! Yes, the stars of this show are Elmo and Cookie Monster, and if you can wait until after the main circus show, you can get your photo with these two megastars of the stage and screen.

This first tent also has a fun teacup ride, the clowns arcade game where prizes can be won, and activities including playing with stacker blocks, kids can make their own bakery snack, and there is even a drawing area. There is popcorn, and fairy floss and slushies available. The most important thing though, is there are bouncing castles. 

There are three in total from what I saw. Two in that first tent and one in the second food tent so there is bouncing opportunities for every little tike! As I just mentioned, the second tent has a bouncing castle, the food cart with simple foods for kids and kid-carrying parents and there is also a coffee station for the parents so don't despair. You can divert outside to an under cover eating area with trestle tables and a Sensory Station for kids to wander through, and here you will access the all-important...um...facilities...?

Once sated, you will have the energy and nerve to meander into the third tent. In the third tent lies wonder and amazement as the circus ring lies waiting for the entertainment about to happen. You can wander into this tent and any time and I think they have kid's stuff happening most of the time, but in the last hour all the stops are pulled out and the real circus reveals itself. 

Circus is always a place of beauty and daring and excitement and the show under this big top doesn't disappoint. After Elmo and Cookie Monster left the stage, Mrs Claus MC's the night as my favourite circus apparatus comes out - The Wheel of Death. As well, we got to see an amazing contortionist, a glorious aerialist on the silks, and - OMG - there was the motorcycles in a Christmas bauble. (Does anyone remember the movie Roustabout?) Three of them at the same time. I nearly feinted in amazement and terror. No wonder it is called The Globe of Death.

I took some family members with me, including a little one. Yes, there were moments of tears - mostly from overstimulation and fatigue - but she made it through the whole evening and was smiling at the end. It was almost impossible to get her away from the bouncing castles, she loved the teacups and the family got some wonderful pictures for the photo album. 

The only downside was the photos with Elmo and Cookie Monster are right at the end of the night because they are performers in the show. This wasn't communicated well which led to some grumpiness, but the moment eventually arrived and smiles were the outcome. Yes, there is also a Santa for more traditional photo outcomes.

If you're looking for fun things to do for Christmas, Christmas Under The Big Top has to be at the top of the list. Ticket prices are low and you can have an amazing time and not spend a cent. If you do have money to spend, most of the stuff you have to pay for is very reasonably priced and, for example, slushy refills are really cheap. Things that come with ticket price include the activities, the tea cup ride, the bouncy castles and the stage shows.

Let's face it, finding things that are fun-filled and the full package when it comes to fun times and entertainment for the little ones are hard to come by. Christmas Under The Big Top is exactly that AND children under 2 are free! So get on down to Burnley Oval and get your Christmas Spirit under Damian Syred's big top.

4.5 Stars


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