Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Santa dusts off snow for sunny parade

Santa Claus was a big hit with the crowds as he closed the parade on his frosty float. Photo / Natalie Slade
Santa Claus was a big hit with the crowds as he closed the parade on his frosty float. Photo / Natalie Slade

Sweltering heat did nothing to stop tens of thousands flocking to Auckland's CBD for a glimpse of the jolly man in red at yesterday's 78th annual Santa Parade.

The streets were lined with children who cheered and waved as about 200 floats and entertainers went by.

White-bearded Santa came on the final float of the parade, sponsored by Farmers, and was one of the biggest hits, with streamers cascading out of the back of his North Pole-themed ride.

Though for Mairi Coombs, 8, of Manurewa, the highlight of the day wasn't seeing the man in red.

"My favourite was when the What Now? float went past and I saw all the Shortland Street characters."

Her brother, Ezekiel, who just turned 5, liked "all of it" and was especially pleased with the 13 Santa Parade flags he was given.

Sunhats and sunblock were on the list of essentials with temperatures reaching about 20C.

MetService forecaster Eric Brenstrum said it would have felt a lot hotter in the central city with the warm concrete and buildings sheltering the wind.

More than 4000 volunteers worked for a year to put the event together - and organisation for next year's parade begins almost as soon as Santa takes off his boots this year.

Chairman of the Auckland Children's Christmas Parade Trust Michael Barnett said this year's parade was the most spectacular yet.

"Each year the Farmers Santa Parade astounds me but this year it has exceeded all my expectations as Auckland's premier family event.

"A lot of hard work goes into the day and the end result is just superb," he said.

- NZ Herald

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