There were fewer people out this time than our previous experiences, perhaps some had been put off by the torrential downpour which started an hour or so before the scheduled start of the procession. That worked in our favour as it meant little people didn’t get squashed nor did they need to be hoisted onto shoulders to watch the passing floats (hurrah for that says my back!). Thankfully the rain stopped in time and me stayed dry too.
One of the staples of Cavalcade is the handing out of thousands of free sweets. Previously it was traditional for those taking part to throw sweets from the passing floats, the result being that you often got pelted by boiled sweets and toffees hurled by over enthusiastic kids. Which is kind of fun, but also kind of dangerous. With Health and Safety in mind, last year (I think) the decision was taken to stop the throwing of sweets and instead hand them out at the start of event. So along came Minions, Disney Princesses and Ninja Turtles scooping buckets of jelly sweets and chocolates out of the back of a pick-up truck!
Next came the Gibraltar Regimental band:
And a few familiar faces, though I don’t remember Yoda being taller than a Storm Trooper!
Now for the main event: the first floats contained the three main men, Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior:
Apologies for the blurry photo! This year, the Kings had new floats, last year and for many years previously they rode on artificial ‘camels’ which looked rather uncomfortable. Once upon a time, I believe, real camels were shipped in for the event.
The Cavalcade is always on 5th January, the day before Epiphany. This was a completely new experience for us when we first arrived from England but across the border in Spain this time is incredibly important as it’s when Christmas presents are given and received, not on 25th December.
Then came the community floats. This year 8 were entered. The majority were created by community groups like Scouts and youth clubs but this year a family entered their own float in support of the event. The one above featured the nativity and was put together by St Bernard’s Church.
Ninjas were obviously a key theme as right behind was 1st/4th Scouts having a Ninja Turtle pizza party.
The floats meet at Casemates Square earlier in the evening in order to be judged. There are different categories and prizes available.