What's On: Rotorua Christmas Parade

By Cherie Taylor, Sonya Bateson

Santa Claus is coming to town this Saturday for the annual Rotorua Christmas Parade _ rain or shine.

From sports clubs and kindergartens to charities and community groups, there will be a wide range of different floats for children and families to enjoy from midday.

Kaitao Middle School pupils have been frantically getting ready for the parade, spending days making decorations for their float.

Shanayla Barrett, 13, said it would be the first time she had been a part of the parade.

"Until now, I was kind of nervous to be in front of everybody and didn't want to go around town with everyone seeing me. I decided I'd do it this year because it sounded fun and to represent Kaitao is exciting for me.''


Shanayla said Kaitao was a "decorative school'' and they were going to have a lot of arts and crafts on the float.

"We've got lots of talented artists and sports achievements, everything we can do we want to show off so kids want to come here.''

She said she would be walking around in her basketball uniform as she was proud that the school's team had taken out the national championships.

Andre Wepa, 11, said it was also his first time in the parade. He said he had seen the Rotorua parade before and thought it was "pretty cool''.

"I wanted to be the chief this year, I have to dance with the girls. I've been painting masks and making flowers and Christmas trees.''

Andre said he had wanted to be a part of the parade after seeing his little sister take part in a previous year. He said he was excited to be able to represent his school.

Event organiser Aaron Gillions said there were 42 floats registered for Saturday's Christmas Parade which promised to be a glamorous and colourful event this year.

"Everyone is keeping things close to their chest as they plan their floats but there are going to be some fantastic designs. I'm sure there will be some really surprised people.''

The parade starts in Rangiuru St and will weave along Tutanekai St up Haupapa St and along to Eruera St before heading along Fenton St to the Village Green.

Motorists can expect delays or find an alternative route through the city between midday and 1pm.

Santa's float would be at the rear _ if he could get away from the North Pole _ and should be last to arrive at the Village Green between 1pm and 1.30pm when the fun would ramp up for people who wanted to head along for some entertainment, Mr Gillions said.

"There will be a giant lolly scramble and heaps of rides and activities for the entire family to enjoy on the Village Green. There is going to be a bouncy castle, jeep for the little ones to ride in, a sausage sizzle and candy floss and much more. The place will come alive,'' he said.

If it is raining it will still go ahead unless it is unsafe.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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