Santa parade heralds Christmas celebrations

This Sunday the Farmers Santa Parade kicks off the Christmas Season in Auckland city centre.

The action kicks off at 2pm with the 2.2 km route beginning at the corner of Cook Street and Mayoral Drive, before turning left into Queen Street, heading down Queen Street and then left again into Customs Street West then up Albert Street, ending at Albert and Wellesley Streets.

This annual event comes with a number of road closures including Queen Street between Karangahape Road and Quay Street, Lower Queen Street, Customs Street West between Commerce Street and Lower Hobson Street, Lower Albert Street, and Mayoral Drive between Cook Street and Wakefield Street, Wakefield Street between Mayoral Drive and Queen Street will also be closed.

Christmas also means decorations throughout the city - with angels in Elliott St, paper chains in High St and doves in Durham Lane already up and the installation of the new Queen St lights is in progress.

All the festive favourites are back, including the Telecom Christmas Tree in Victoria Park, Santa's Enchanted Forest and Christmas Windows at Smith & Caughey's, the Auckland Symphony Orchestra Christmas Celebration and  the iconic 52- year-old Santa on the Whitcoulls Corner standing at an impressive 25m tall.

For a second year, Aotea Square will turn into a hive of live performance and street theatre for Christmas shoppers to be entertained by. 'Unwrapping Christmas in the BIG little City' is a three-week free programme that will feature live music, theatre performances and spectacular Christmas markets.

'Bandstand Under the Stars' will feature evening classes in Salsa, Bollywood, Swing, Ballroom and Celtic Ceilidh.

See the Square come alive with Random Acts or simply lounge on a deck chair with a game of giant Connect 4.

Wynyard Quarter will add Christmas sparkle down by the sea with a Christmas-themed Silo Cinema, night markets, family workshops and an interactive advent calendar to reveal a new Christmas scene each day.

St Paul's church are also inviting people to participate in Carols by Glow Stick at Vector Arena, and the Basement Theatre's show of 'Mega Christmas' will indulge in the sillier side of the season.

- The Aucklander

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