A day in the life of a carnival princess

Confetti and streamers are fluttering down from the ceiling – azure blue, sunshine-yellow, apple-green, fiery red! Among the festive merrymakers, the Queen of Hearts and Prince Charming are ecstatically entwined, policeman and burglar zestfully clink their beer mugs. Amidst all the revelry, cowboys and Indians are smoking their pipe of peace. Over there on the dance-floor, a rosy-cheeked Snow White is bopping to the music – a dwarf, a clown and a crocodile in tow.

And then there’s Martina Vilser, who’s behind a curtain waiting for her entry. Three, two, one – and she’s on the spotlit stage.

Since 11 November, the carnival season has been up and running. Not least for Martina Vilser. In her day job, she’s an assistant to the Employees’ Council at Krones AG. But for 114 days, her free time is consumed by her second role: she’s the Carnival Princess of the carnival club Saturnalia, Neutraubling.

9:00 a.m.: Time to wake up!

It’s the carnival ball today. For Martina, it’s the first carnival season where she’s been an active participant: since 11 November, she’s been appearing on stage as the Carnival Princess. It was Karl Brückl, president of Saturnalia Neutraubling, who set things rolling with his remark, made more or less in jest: “Princess, that might be right up your street, Martina”. No sooner said than done! After all, an opportunity like this doesn’t knock twice.

20131115_135215-1-1 (2)12 noon: Next stop the hairdresser’s.

Hair and makeup have to be flawless. Martina gets a magnificent mane of curls – topped by a diadem, of course. Just like a real princess! Wasting time is not an option: the speech for the evening needs to be practised because it didn’t receive its finishing touches until the very last minute. There’s a separate speech for every ball – the Prince and Princess write a new one for each event.

4:00 p.m.: The dress goes on!

Martina slips into her ball dress, the seam is touching the floor, the violet-and-pink material gleams and her décolleté is adorned with glittering gems. A dream dress indeed – worthy of a princess! Martina got to choose the dress herself, though her Carnival Prince, Kevin, was also permitted a modest amount of input    ;).

5:00 p.m.: Arrival in the dressing room.

Here, the majorettes and dance groups, the organisers and stage technicians, are already hustling and bustling. Martina and Kevin are practising the speech one last time, plus the choreography of their waltz. Everything has to be spot on! The excitement levels are rising.

8:11 p.m.: The ball begins punctually.

Behind the scenes, everyone is getting ready. Martina peers through a gap in the curtains, a sheet of paper with the speech in her hand. The City Hall of Neutraubling is jam-packed with around 400 guests: home-made costumes, colourful hats and fright wigs as far as the eye can see. Martina’s pulse-rate is rising: soon she’ll be giving a speech and dancing a waltz in front of all these people.

9:00 p.m.: A colourful programme entertains the guests.

The Junior Majorettes perform their dance routine, followed by the Children’s Prince and Princess with their speech of welcome. After the Senior Majorettes, it’s time for Martina and Kevin …

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10:15 p.m.: The star turn.

Martina and Kevin enter the stage, in front of the table where the 11-strong Carnival Committee are enthroned. The President in the middle, the other members on each side: Martina and Kevin are holding the microphone. Luckily, the speech goes off swimmingly – no one stumbles over the words. Then the two of them segue into their waltz: they’ve chosen “Viennese Blood”. In September, they rehearsed the choreography with a dancing instructor. Once a week, the watchword has been: practise, practise, practise, until every step is instinctive. Now the two of them are floating over the stage; Martina’s dress swirls through the air. Applause and cries of acclamation reach their ears up there – out of breath but with radiant smiles on their faces, the take a bow as the music fades away. The star turn has been a huge success!

Midnight: The official part of the evening is over.

Beaming faces among all the performers: all the nerves have vanished. Everyone is eagerly anticipating the next eventful and unforgettable evenings: Martina is relieved that everything went so well. So bring on the next events, all the way through to Shrove Tuesday!