Schoolkids are geared up for an adventurous journey
This is one date Central School will definitely not be late for.
About 420 students are bedecked in their Alice in Wonderland theme and ready to take part in tonight's biggest community event of the year - the annual Masked Parade through central Nelson.
The school will join more than 3000 entrants and 50 groups expected to take part in this year's parade which has a theme of Adventurous Journeys; a celebration of living things on the move in every form.
Central School deputy principal Christine Harrison, wearing a specially stylised mask adapted to fit her spectacles, said "wearing glasses with a mask" was not easy.
She said they had thought about a building on a theme of birds or immigration, but settled on the timeless Lewis Carroll tale.
"We wanted something fun and child-oriented."
At yesterday's dress rehearsal in front of the school, the Mad Hatters had difficulty holding on to their hats in the wind, Alice stood tall on her stilts, and the cheshire cats couldn't stop grinning while the cards shuffled to the beat of a Gwen Stefani pop song.
"Nelson Central School you look stunning," Mrs Harrison exclaimed.
"Give yourself a big clap!" she added, as Tweedledee and Tweedledum danced and the Queen of Hearts practised her royal wave.
Mrs Harrison said the school had been part of the Masked Parade every second year since its inception 19 years ago, or "longer than I can remember", she said.
Thousands of spectators are once more expected to line city streets for the colourful spectacle, which starts from Montgomery Square at 5.30pm.
The parade will wind its way around the inner city from there on to Bridge St, Trafalgar St, Hardy St, Morrison St, Selwyn Pl, Church Lane, across Hardy St and back to Montgomery Square.
The More FM Carnivale will begin straight after around 6.30pm and will include street entertainment, food stalls and free live bands until 11pm. Spectators are encouraged to wear masks and get involved in the spirit of the celebration.
Other key things to remember: Leave plenty of time to drop off people and costumes, avoid parking in town if you can, and drive with patience and care as some roads remain open but will be full of pedestrians.
- © Fairfax NZ News