Whanganui's popular Christmas Parade returns this weekend.

Complete with Santa, Christmas floats, a lolly scramble and an after-party, the annual parade kicks off this Saturday at 2pm from the corner of Victoria Ave and Ingestre St.

The parade will make its way down Victoria Ave to Ridway St. It will be followed by an after-party at Majestic Square which will include food and entertainment.

Kelly Scarrow from Mainstreet Whanganui said there would be around 40 different floats in the parade including the Boys and Girls Gym Club, River City Rollers, Wanganui Vintage Car Club.

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Members of 5th/7th Battalion would also take part in the parade before heading up to the War Memorial Hall forecourt for their own ceremony in which the Battalion colours will be put on display in the War Memorial Hall. The Freedom of the District of Whanganui will be conferred on the battalion following the parade.

Balance Whanganui will also be holding a fundraising barbecue at Majestic Square.

Mrs Scarrow said the parade was a way of bringing the community together.

"Families always enjoy it. It helps to lift people's morale and have some fun.

"And there is the potential for retailers to keep their doors open a little longer so people can enjoy a bit of Christmas shopping."

There is a competition for best float in the parade. To register, contact Mainstreet Whanganui.