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Fantasy Ball Makes its Debut in Brisbane

By Ashleigh Elliott

The Celestial Festival Ball, held in Brisbanes CBD, saw around 600 guests dressed in their finest gowns and leathers, to experience an ethereal night of fantasy inspired by the International Best Seller book series by Sarah J. Mass; A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR).

Host, Carly and cosplayer, Harrison Wellingham.

Throughout two nights, book lovers from all around Australia got dressed up and gathered at Customs House along the Brisbane River to eat, drink, and dance the night away with a community that attendees have described as ‘truly amazing’.

Carly Vidal-Wallace, the previous national manager for women in media, founded Celestial Events after she felt ‘empty’ following her completion of the ACOTAR series and having to return to the ‘real world’.

“Reading a total fantasy book was a way to completely escape” Carly said. “I wanted to do something fun for me”

Carly published a Facebook post on a fantasy book fan page, questioning whether anyone in Australia would be interested in attending a Fantasy Ball.

“The post got 900 comments within 24 hours” she said.

After receiving a significant amount of interest, Carly managed to quickly turn her idea into a reality. She had tickets on sale for the Brisbane Celestial Festival Ball within 13 days of making the initial Facebook post.

Actors dressed as characters inspired by the fantasy bookish realm.

Originally, the Ball was supposed to be a one-night-only event for 300 attendees, however, as demand grew, Carly had no choice but to add a second night as well as additional events such as archery and paint & sip. She sold nearly 1000 tickets in total.

The Balls, which took place on the 24th and 25th of March, offered countless photo opportunities, unlimited drinks, food, cosplayers, and a chance to learn to dance like a faerie.

“Everyone got to be whoever they wanted to be for a night,” Carly said.
Professional photograph of Ball attendee Tamica Bentley.

Ball attendee, Tamica Bentley, explains how special the night was for her.

“The night meant everything to me. It meant that I got to be completely me without fear of people not understanding me.” Tamica said.

Carly has already organised Balls for Sydney and Melbourne, with Brisbane 2025 also underway.

“We find ourselves attached to fantasy worlds sometimes when it's hard to process what's going on in our world. It's reassuring to see the good winning.” - Sarah J. Mass.

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