The cancellation of this year's Trustpower Christmas Parade was a distant memory as hundreds of Tauranga locals and visitors gathered at Tauranga's waterfront to celebrate the Christmas season today.

The annual parade was called off last weekend due to bad weather but the sun was shining down on about 500 people who enjoyed a range of entertainment including the CCS Disability Action concert, Christmas parade floats and food stalls - and of course Father Christmas made an appearance.

Read more: Tauranga and Te Puke Christmas parades cancelled

The community-focused party was a celebration of all things Christmas and Downtown Tauranga spokeswoman Millie Newitt said she was pleased to see so much support for the CCS Disability Action concert which was also a celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

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Newitt said the party was an opportunity for people to see most of the characters and floats that would have been in the Christmas parade this year including Disney Princesses, Game of Thrones characters, pirates and a range of local Cosplayers.

"It's so great seeing our community coming together," she said.

Santa Claus made an appearance with Comet the reindeer. Photo/ George Novak
Santa Claus made an appearance with Comet the reindeer. Photo/ George Novak

The city's annual Christmas Carols on the Waterfront would follow the Christmas party and Newitt expected a few hundred people to take part.

Bay of Plenty CCS Disability Action service manager Paula Young said it was the first time the concert had been held alongside the Downtown Tauranga Christmas celebrations.

Young said the concert helped showcase the amazing things people with disabilities were capable of and she was "thrilled" to see so many people enjoying the day.

The concert featured about a dozen performances including Tauranga Samba, individual singers, and local dance groups.

"We're showing what a truly inclusive concert can look like."

The sun is shining and hundreds of people are down at The Strand enjoying this year's Christmas party

Posted by Bay of Plenty Times on Saturday, 8 December 2018