Behind the scenes with a magic maker
Published: Dec 2, 2014With our festive weekend fast approaching, Events Manager Lorraine Reid is facing one of her biggest challenges of the year. It’s the first time we’ve combined our Christmas weekend with a special discount for locals so we’re expecting a huge increase in visitors on December 13th and 14th.
We’re determined to make it a magical and memorable event and it’s Lorraine’s job, as official dream maker, to make sure that happens. There’s so much to be done. Untangling the Christmas tree lights is a headache for most of us – so just imagine what it’s like to be in charge of putting the sparkle into a 13-acre Zoo?! Lights and decorations can’t be put inside the animal enclosures and much of the site is without electricity so Lorraine has to be inventive when it comes to creating that all important festive feel. With less than three weeks to go, Rudolf’s blown a fuse so his head won’t light up and the ‘A’ in the Merry Christmas light string has gone on strike. Christmas costumes need to be taken out of storage. New outfits have to be made and existing ones need to be altered. It’s just as well Lorraine’s a sewing machine sorceress! There’s the Disney look-a-like Frozen characters and snow machine to organise, the grotto and elf workshop have to be created, four Christmas trees need to be collected, Santa has to be briefed… Around 24 staff and volunteers will be involved in organising the festive celebration including eight “elves” who all need to be trained over the next couple of weeks.
Lorraine’s four-hour elf training sessions are a serious business. The elves need to be taught grotto protocols, how to create festive treats for the animals and how to make Christmas cards using children’s finger prints. What should an elf do if a child gets separated from their parents or falls over? These and many more important issues will be covered in her ‘elf and safety’ workshops. Lorraine says: “A huge amount of effort always goes into the Christmas weekend but it’s worth it when you see all the kids having such a fantastic time.” “We make it our mission to give families a unique experience which they can’t get anywhere else in Cornwall. It’s a tall order. But with a lot of hard graft, good humour and glitter, we’ll make it happen!” Hope to see you all soon, Ann x Ever wondered what happens here at the Zoo on Christmas Day? Find out in a blog post coming soon.