Santa Parade attracts thousands

By Sandra Conchie

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More than 30,000 people lined Mount Mainstreet for the annual Santa Parade on Saturday.

Christmas-themed floats decorated by schools, businesses and community groups took part in the parade, joined by street performers and police.

Mount Mainstreet manager Leanne Brown said a record number of floats entered the parade this year, there was a great crowd turn-out and a perfect summer day to enjoy it.

''There were some amazingly creative floats this year, which made it extremely difficult for the judging panel to select an overall winner. Lots of entries were very creative,'' she said.

The champion float, chosen from four category winners, went to Otamarakau School for its summer-themed colourful float of Santa with his fishing line reeling in a big catch.

Winning the prize for crowd participation was a large contingent of uniformed police who joined in the parade, a number pushing their children in prams or walking police dogs.

Among the floats was a number of groups in TrustPower sponsored vehicles, such as the Night Owls who help police to keep our streets safe at night.

More than 50 spot prizes, donated by Mount Mainstreet retailers, were also handed out on the day.

Mrs Brown said her ''light bulb moment'', asking people to bring along a food item to donate to the Bay of Plenty Times 2012 Christmas Appeal, generated a fantastic response.

She said more than 2000 food items were collected for the Tauranga Community Foodbank, with the exact tally yet to be finalised.

''I'm quite overwhelmed and humbled by the response and it's going to make a huge difference to how the foodbank copes with the demand this festive season.''

Bay of Plenty Times staff and volunteers were also there on Saturday, helping to collect donated food items from parade-goers.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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