The Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade was not only a chance to see Sun Loong on one of his final marches through the CBD or to revel in the atmosphere of Easter in Bendigo.
It was also a chance to capture the imaginations of thousands of children who lined the streets.
That was a sentiment first and foremost in the minds of many who were marshalling in the QEO car park prior to the parade.
Bendigo Cosplay Society member Heylookitsthatguy and Miss Lucifiend Cosplay modelled their stunning costumes on characters from Fallout 4.
Both said the detailed ensembles were some of the easier ones they had worked on in their time.
“It only takes a few days (to put my costume together). The makeup takes about 40 minutes, or an hour,” Miss Lucifiend said.
Heylookitsthatguy’s costume came from op shops, while his mask came from a specialist supplier in Melbourne.
Golden Square Primary School selected an Alice in Wonderland theme for their float, complete with a tea party, props and characters from Lewis Carroll’s iconic tales.
Teala Masiero said about 35 kids and 13 parents were part of the first school float to enter the parade in years.
Teala had been working on the float for about a month.
“Officially, you only have two weeks to make it. That’s the time when you find out you are actually in it,” she said.
”So I made some paper mache mushrooms in the hope that we would be in it – to try to be a bit more organised.”
On the day, Alice, the Mad Hatter and other characters sat on the back of the truck amid vines and flowers, while other children followed along behind.
Sherryl Tanian and Bernie Werren were sitting in the crowd. They were enjoying the looks of delight on the faces of children.
Bernie remembered seeing the parade as a child. He said it had certainly changed in his time, becoming bigger.
He marveled at the events’ longevity and popularity.
“The amount of people here now, I’m in my 70s, I think it’s fabulous. With all these kids here, it’s wonderful,” he said.
Sherryl said the pair had spent the last few days attending other events, including watching children take part in the Easter egg hunts in Rosalind Park.