Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Interactive Christmas celebration for Rotorua (+ video)

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Details have been revealed of this year's Rotorua Christmas celebrations, which include an interactive festival and a sunset tree-lighting ceremony.

This year's Rotorua Christmas Parade and Festival will be held on Saturday, December 3.

The parade will start at 4pm and weave its way through the CBD, finishing at the festival on the Village Green.

This year the focus of the festival is being shifted from the main stage to a mix of interactive sites.

These will include entertainment and activities, food vendors, some Christmas retail therapy, a short prizegiving for winning floats and a Christmas movie on the big screen.

Parade and festival co-ordinator Alia Ryan of Boost Fundraising & Events said rather than just having performers on the stage, there would be performers teaching people how to use the instruments.

Miss Ryan said it would be the second year the festival had a Christmas movie on the big screen, after great feedback last year.

This year will also see the introduction of a community Christmas tree lighting ceremony just as the sun goes down.

She said people would be encouraged to bring food to put under the tree for a local charity.

Last year about 40 floats took part in the parade and it was hoped there would be about 60 this year, she said.

"We are hoping to get a wider range of businesses involved and will be holding a float-building workshop in mid-November to help people get more creative.

"From my point of view, I see the Christmas parade as an opportunity for people to see the diversity in our community and celebrate the festive season."

She said, as a mother with children ranging from 8 months to 13 years, she enjoyed seeing them get excited about Christmas, and "of course the gifts and food".

She said the Rotorua Christmas Parade's Charitable Trust was a proactive one to work with, and one that wanted to introduce new things.

"Mostly I just think it's really great to get an opportunity to work on an event I can then see all my family members enjoy."

Those who are interested in signing up for a float or site can visit www.christmasparade.co.nz.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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