Santa is all set to make his first appearance in the Far North at Kaitaia's parade and Christmas in the Park on Saturday.
Once again he will ride through the main street, while Shine on Kaitaia has been working for several months to plan a fun-packed family day with events to entertain all ages.
The programme includes free entertainment next to the old Pak'nSave Carpark (11am-12.30pm) and the Santa parade (1pm), immediately followed by a Christmas concert at Jaycee Park. The Kaitaia Business Association has created a Santa's grotto where families will be able to meet and have free photos with Santa at KohatuFit (10am-noon).
Shine on Kaitaia is hoping everyone who lines up to watch the parade will follow Santa down to the park and enjoy the entertainment in store, which will include more than 15 performances from the winners of the Shine on Kaitaia Christmas show auditions, special guest bands Chemamari and the Jackson Taylor Band, dancers from the Kaitaia Community Hip Hop Crew, and Christmas carols from the Kaitaia Community Gospel Voices.
There will also be food stalls, bouncy castles, giveaways and activities for the kids.
Te Hauroa Tawhara-Crown said this was the third year that from Shine on Kaitaia had helped stage the parade.
"It's been hard to increase the number of float entries because everyone is busy at this time, but we love seeing all the smiling faces and the fun ideas our locals come up with for their floats. The community really does shine when that happens, so we keep working hard, and just keep hoping that we get more support, because we don't want the parade to end again."
(Kaitaia was paradeless for some years, as a result of rising costs and an element of poor behaviour that was judged as putting some children and young people at risk).
Te Hauora also thanked Te Hiku Community Board, which was funding the main street wreaths and flags, and Top Energy, for voluntarily installing them.
The parade will kick off at 1pm, with community and business groups to be met by Mary Parrish, newest member of the Shine on Kaitaia volunteers' crew. Mary, who offered her support at a previous parade, said she saw the event as a special opportunity to create costumes and artistic signs, share stories and memories with children and staff at her Educare centre, Dreamcatchers.
"I remember the parade when I was young," she said.
"It was the event everyone looked forward to for the year. The floats were amazing, and everyone chipped in to help. Not only is it an opportunity to promote our services, but more than that, it shows our children what it means to give back to your community and that you can have fun and feel good doing it."
This year's parade theme is Christmas at the Beach, with Holli Rudolph and the Road Safety Team from Far North REAP once again managing traffic to ensure a safe journey and afternoon for all. All the public have to do is turn up for the parade, and at the with their chairs, blankets and Christmas cheer. Meanwhile, thanks to support from McDonald's Kaitaia, CBEC, the Mayoral Discretionary Fund and Jeff Walker, from Lakeside Sound and Light, He Marama Trust has organised an impressive covered stage, sound system and generator for the show in the park, with local businesses including Signs of Life, the Warehouse, Farmers, Onsite Access, KohatuFit, Pak'nSave, the Northland Age, Far North REAP, Hunting and Fishing and Blue Light, and all manner of generous individuals and families, the event would likely have Santa wanting to stay all year round, Te Hauora said.
In the event of rain, the concert will move to Te Ahu.