What a cracker of a weekend it was to kick off summer and get us in the Christmas spirit.

With temperatures into the 20s, there was no shortage of things to do around the city and Rotorua lapped it up.

Mudtopia was a bit of an unknown for Rotorua and it's probably too early to say whether it can be deemed a success.

However if success is measured by ear-to-ear grins and families having good, er, clean, fun, together then a success it was.

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The financial success of the festival is another thing and that will become clear over the coming days and weeks.

In August, a council "optimistic" forecast suggested the event could make a profit in its first year of $95,885, a"realistic" forecast showed a deficit of $234,381 while a "pessimistic" forecast suggested the deficit could be up to $575,871.

Organisers admitted last week ticket sales had been slower than expected and a number of free tickets were distributed through local businesses, schools and media outlets.

They will hope those who enjoyed the freebies will be happy to pay full price next year, having seen what Mudtopia is all about.

But it's Christmas, so let's put that aside for one moment and go back to the smiling faces.

The Christmas Parade brought families flocking into town on Saturday afternoon, including this Rotorua parade first-timer.

Sure it was nothing too flashy or fancy but that didn't seem to matter too much to the kids, who were just excited for a day out with whanau that ended with a glimpse of Santa.

The only thing missing were the reindeer. I can only assume Rudolph and co were back in the North Pole resting up for the big night ahead.

Roll on Christmas, and roll on summer.