All I want for Christmas is a parade

By Peter de Graaf

So Kamo, Onerahi, Hikurangi and Kaitaia have been and gone - but that doesn't mean you've missed out. In fact, Northland's Christmas parade season really gets into gear this weekend with no less than five in the space of two days.

Kawakawa: Wednesday, December 5, 6pm

The parade starts at 6pm behind the Star Hotel with a "Kawakawa Olympiad" theme and Northland Paralympian Fiona Southorn on one of the floats along with the bronze medal she won in London. Afterwards the action shifts to the Nu Flo Centre for prize-giving, food and craft stalls, and entertainment.

Moerewa: Friday, December 7, 4-7pm

Organised by He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust, Moerewa Xmas in the park features hangi, games, food and fun in Simson Park.

Kerikeri: Friday, December 7, 6pm

The parade makes a circuit of the town, starting and ending in the Domain, followed by an evening of family fun from 7pm. Bring a blanket or deck chair and listen to live music, tuck into ice creams, sausages and coffee, or get your picture taken on Santa's knee. If it rains the concert will move inside the pavilion.

Rawene: Saturday, December 8, 10am

Rawene's annual Christmas parade and carnival starts at 10am at the school field and includes food stalls, a hangi, bouncy castle, kids' cars, merry-go-round, animal farm, wood chopping, horse show and motorbikes. The parade starts at 11am with nursery rhymes as this year's theme.

Kaikohe: Saturday, December 8, 10am-3.30pm

Part of the seven-week Shine Kaikohe Festival, the parade starts from the RSA at 1pm with an animal and bird world theme. However festivities start earlier, with Broadway closed to traffic from 10am to make way for stalls and trolley, unicycle and skateboard races from 11.30am. The parade will be followed by an attempt to set a world record for the most guitars played at once. Other attractions will include Santa's grotto and a life-size interactive nativity scene.

Kaeo: Saturday, December 8, noon-4pm

The Christmas parade starts at noon at the northern end of town, then wends its way to the Whangaroa College grounds for the festival begins. Of all the Christmas festivals in the Far North, this is usually the one with the best musical lineup - though Whangaroa reggae band 1814 won't be playing this year, alas.

Paihia: Thursday, December 13, 5.30pm

Both the Paihia and Kerikeri parades produce some extraordinary floats, but only in Paihia has a parade float caused outrage among concerned citizenry. Last year moral indignation swept the seaside town after it was rumoured that one float would involve nudity and whipping. Unfortunately, the rumour was untrue, but there were a lot of muscular men in body paint and loincloths. This year's theme is "Paihia takes to the Stage" with the route running from Kings Rd to Marsden Rd, Bay View Rd and back to Williams Rd. Prizes for floats and every child who dresses up. Shops and cafes will stay open.

Whangarei: Saturday, December 15, 5.30pm

The annual Christmas Festival is being held at Toll Stadium from 5.30pm. Gates open at 4.30pm so come earlier and bring your picnic blanket to reserve a good spot. The event has been moved from Barge Showgrounds in 2011 and is on a Saturday instead of a Thursday to make it easier for people to come along. Midnight Youth with lead singer Jeremy Redmore will be performing as well as entertainment from Furious 3,  Whangarei Primary School Choir, Star Search and Local Talent, Elvis and the Whangarei Rock and Roll club, Tena Ki Tenor, Northland Dance Crew and Fantasy Cheerleaders, with a special apperance by Santa and Mrs Claus and a fireworks finale. Kids' entertainment includes bouncy castles, face painting and Kelly Belly Button story telling.

Ruakaka: Saturday, December 22, 10.30am

The Ruakaka Christmas Parade will start at the Ruakaka Tavern Carpark at 10.30am, led by the Waipu Pipe Band. Bring your floats and enjoy being part of the parade organised by Marsden Lions. Prizes for the best three floats

Russell: Saturday, December 22, 4.30-7.30pm

One of the last of the season, Russell's parade wends its way around the town's historic streets before Santa alights from his sleigh at the Duke of Marlborough for some old-fashioned Christmas spirit on the lawn. Apparently it's thirsty work being the bearer of good cheer and Yuletide greetings.

Waipu: Monday, December 24, 7pm

As also the season is rounded off by Waipu, with a parade down the main street at 7pm on Christmas Eve. MC'd by Neil Troost with a $500 prize for the best float and $50 for best-dressed onlooker. Waipu Presbyterian Church is holding Carols by Candlelight at 8.30pm.

- Northern Advocate

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