Annual Auckland Farmers Santa Parade a hit

The Farmers Santa Parade in central Auckland today. Photo / Doug Sherring
The Farmers Santa Parade in central Auckland today. Photo / Doug Sherring

Everyone left with a smile on their faces after this year's annual Farmers Santa Parade in Auckland, an organiser said.

Pam Glaser was overjoyed with how the event turned out this year and that the rain held off.

"It's absolutely pouring now," she said after the event finished.

Glaser, the general manager of the parade, said she was "absolutely thrilled" with how it turned out.

Photo / Doug Sherring
Photo / Doug Sherring

"It was just amazing, I think it was world class," she said.

"I feel very satisfied and I think we delivered a really good show and people loved it."

While Glaser said it was too difficult to put a number on the number of people who turned up to see their favourite characters pass by on floats, she believed it was more people than last year.

There was a "huge amount" of people there.

The parade began with a group of drummers, followed by a Farmers float which let off large, colourful streamers as it turned on to Cook St.

A group of princesses, a float dedicated to the Disney movie Frozen and a giant Mickey Mouse balloon were among the first groups along the parade route.

People got a kick out of seeing the licensed characters on the floats, such as the Angry Birds, Lego, and the PowerPuff Girls, Glaser said.

Other highlights included Disney's Mickey and Minnie inflatables, The Koi Boys from Australia's The Voice, a Paralympics float on board which five Kiwi Paralympians rode as this year's grand marshals, an Austin Powers and a Cinderella float.

The Paralympians led the parade on the all-new Rio-themed Paralympics float at the head of the cavalcade.

Javelin silver medallist Holly Robinson - who carried the New Zealand flag in Rio - was joined by teammates Nikita Howarth, Rebecca Dubber, Laura Thompson and Jesse Reynolds as the official Grand Marshals for this year's parade.

Tens of thousands of excited parade-goers welcomed both them and Santa to Auckland as the 1.9-kilometre-long event wound its way through the city.

Lots of kids waved at Santa as he made his way down the street, while adults took photos.

Dallas, 2, got a good view of the parade from her aunt's shoulders.

Her aunt, Ming, said it was Dallas' second time going to the parade.

"Mickey Mouse is her favourite. She wants to see him."

People were also taking to Facebook to share their delight with the parade.

Jithawut Boonchom labelled the parade "Amazing Excellent".

One person said she and her family were driving up from Hamilton to see the parade.

Glaser wanted to thank everyone involved, including the volunteers who made the event happen.

"Thanks to Aucklanders for turning up and for those who volunteer and just make it all possible."

More than 3500 thousand people were involved in helping to ensure the parade ran smoothly. They ranged from a backstage team of hair and makeup artists to the costume team making last-minute repairs and touch ups, drivers towing the floats and traffic controllers closing off streets to create the parade route.

"In terms of the event itself, it was probably our biggest year ever in terms of float variety and amazing pageantry, fun and surprises that have made it a perennial favourite."

"All in all, a really amazing community event, and yeah, I think everyone left with a smile on their faces."

- NZ Herald

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