Mount and Greerton set for festive cheer

By Genevieve Helliwell


Christmas cheer is in the air ahead of the Christmas Festival and Santa Parade in downtown Mount Maunganui tomorrow.

Santa Claus is on his way to Tauranga from the North Pole and is set to make "an amazing entrance" to the parade, which will feature more than 60 entries.

Mount Mainstreet manager Leanne Brown said she had been in touch with the big man in red to organise his position on Otamarakau School's float.

The free Christmas Festival and Santa Parade, sponsored by Mainstreet and TrustPower, is being held from 10am in downtown Mount Maunganui with free entertainment for the whole family.

Each entry would have a strong Christmas focus, Ms Brown said.

"Last year, a few people said it was a bit commercial so this year it's a lot stricter, where entrants have ensured they will fully be in the Christmas spirit."

"There's going to be Snoopy's Christmas, Red Riding Hood Christmas, Zumba, Christmas trees and reindeer, Lofty the crane, vintage cars, motorised couches, fire engines, roller derby, queen of hearts, gymnasts and cheerleaders, police, marching bands, urban dance, Tauranga samba and more."

"I've been organising with Santa about his arrival from the North Pole ... and when he does get here and is involved in the parade, it's going to be amazing," she said.

The Christmas Festival and Santa Parade is supporting the Bay of Plenty Times 2012 Christmas Appeal, gathering cans and cash for Tauranga Community Foodbank.

Ms Brown said food donations had begun to flow into the Mount Mainstreet office ahead of the parade, "which I'm thrilled about".

Food items will be collected by marked vehicles at the beginning and end of the parade, by Bethlehem Buses which is operating the free bus shuttles, and also in the Phoenix car park, where volunteers from the foodbank will be based.

Ms Brown hoped guests would grab something from their pantry or cupboard before they arrived at the festival.

"Whether it is a packet of pasta, noodles or rice, a can of fruit, vege or spaghetti, biscuits, cat food, cereal or even toilet paper, every item is going to really brighten someone's day at this very festive but financially stressful time of year.

"Christmas is a time for giving and this is a simple, easy and inexpensive way to really make a difference to someone's Christmas. Just imagine what we can achieve if everyone brings even just one item."

Meanwhile, if you can't make tomorrow's parade, you could head along to Greerton Village Square this evening from 6-9pm for the 2012 Greerton Village Variety Show.

Featuring Kiwi favourite entertainer Jackie Clarke the event will be a family bonanza of musical talent from local school choirs, bands, bouncy castles and loads of candy floss.

Santa will also be there with a sackful of lollies.

Everyone who attends is asked to bring along a non-perishable food item for the Foodbank.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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