Now's the time to start planning your entry into this year's Blossom Parade, which takes to the streets on September 10.

Celebrating the arrival of spring, the annual Blossom Parade gives people, communities and businesses an opportunity to "get out, have some fun and strut their stuff", Pitsch Leiser, Community Arts Development manager for Creative Hastings, said.

"Traditionally, business owners used the Blossom Parade as their annual marketing activity," Pitsch said.

"Whereas nowadays, many businesses embrace the parade as a team-building activity, resulting in some highly original and creative floats. Seven categories with cash prizes, along with a People's Choice Award help encourage a healthy level of competition between organisations."


The theme for this year's event - "buds, blossoms and blooms" - will give participants even more scope for creativity, says Blossom Parade organiser Lyn Mackie.

"Entrants can interpret the theme literally by emphasising the spring theme or the floral elements," says Lyn. "Alternatively, they can play on the idea of buds representing the new, whether it be young children, young communities or young businesses, blossoms representing the flourishing, and blooms representing full maturity."

Established in 1950, the Blossom Parade has long been a highlight of the Hastings event calendar and organisers are keen to recapture some of the magic of the Parade's heyday.

The popularity of the event shows no signs of waning with more than 20,000 people cramming the streets to view last year's parade despite the cold weather. Generous support from Hastings District Council, charitable trusts and sponsors has seen the event grow to include more than 50 entries, ranging from school and cultural groups to BMX bikers, marching bands and musical groups.

In particular, the Blossom Parade showcases the cultural diversity of the Hastings district, Lyn said, with entries from Maori, Pacific, Asian and Indian communities, among others.

"The Blossom Parade celebrates our diversity and our community spirit," Lyn said.

"We have a lot to be proud of in the Hastings district and the Blossom Parade is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge all of the wonderful things our region has to offer."