Parade ushers in spring

By Amy Shanks

Lambs are leaping, daffodils sprouting and grass growing, but spring has not truly sprung until the Blossom Parade has tracked its way through Hastings CBD.

Carrying on a tradition started more than 50 years ago, people will line the streets to celebrate the change of season tomorrow from 1.30pm.

People across the region are putting finishing touches on floats and costumes for the parade.

"The Hastings Blossom Parade is a joyous family celebration of who we are, where we live and what we do for work and leisure," Creative Hastings general manager Malcolm Calder said.

"Last year's parade was a great success, with the floats and other entries extremely varied, noisy and colourful. This year's parade promises to be even better.

"Each year the parade features participants from the many different cultural groups which make up the wider Hastings community. These groups bring an amazing variety of music, dance and colour."

At Apollo Apples in Whakatu, a handful of keen employees have been working around the clock to create their float. The first-time entrants decided to take part after hearing an advert on the radio.

"All the bosses thought it was a good idea and sounded like a bit of fun, so a handful of us got together," Apollo Apples employee Kelsey Butler said. "I always associate blossoms with fruit trees so our theme is apples from the tree through processing and sending them off overseas."

The parade will be led by a group of dragon dancers from Wellington and will feature 20 floats and 45 entries, including mascots and marching bands.

Parade director Lyn Mackie said the event promised plenty of entertainment for the whole family and some great highlights.

"New to the parade are backpack balloons, in the shape of a blossom tree and two flowers.

"The Thai Buddhist community has the Thai ambassador and his wife coming to support them, there will be a digital float and Westpac Hastings have got their foam cannon which is always popular at the end of the parade."

The parade begins on Warren St in Hastings heads along Queen St, then Nelson St before ending on Eastbourne St. Roads will be closed from 1pm.

People should get in early and secure their spot. Those who can not stand for long periods and require seating have a reserved space outside the old Farmers building on Queen St, and can get in touch with Lyn Mackie at Creative Hastings on (06) 878 9447.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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