With four weeks still to go until Christmas, Santa made an early appearance on the streets of central Auckland today,

The 84th Farmer's Santa Parade on Queen St which this year had a steampunk theme delighted hundreds of children and adults alike.

Children sat on their parents' shoulders - making sure to get a glimpse of some of the characters prancing down the street.

My Little Pony was a crowd pleaser. Photo / Greg Bowker
My Little Pony was a crowd pleaser. Photo / Greg Bowker

More inventive watchers got a bird's-eye view from upper-storey carparks.

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There were superheroes, fairies, Disney princesses, floating Madagascar penguins, karate kid, walking Christmas trees and even a band dressed as kiwifruit pounding on drums.

The America's Cup had its own float, with children accompanying it on a big ship.

Sisters Gaia, 7, and Nina Mills, 9, enjoyed their first Christmas parade.

Their mother Dafna Kaplan said their family arrived from Israel last year and are now living on Waiheke Island, where their Kiwi dad was from.

"It's very different from where he comes from. I think they're loving it."

Sporting Christmas-themed headbands, they looked on excitedly as the parade passed them.

The colourful and imaginative floats were hugely popular. Photo /Greg Bowker
The colourful and imaginative floats were hugely popular. Photo /Greg Bowker

Darren and Kriselda Puyat, of Glen Eden, have made it a family tradition to bring their two boys - Elijah, 6, and Manny, 2, to the parade.

"They've been to a few now and it's all about Santa," father Darren said.

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Elijah had a particular love for Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers.

"I don't think they'll see them here. But they love Santa - they just want to see him right at the end."

Ten-year-old Angelina Lapa was there with her parents and little brother.

She was proud of her bright green hat which let people know that she was a member of "Santa's sleigh team".

"We have different kinds of Christmas hats. I have another one with Santa's feet coming out the sides.

"But this is the one I found this morning," she laughed.

Children can't resist getting amongst the parade. Photo / Greg Bowker
Children can't resist getting amongst the parade. Photo / Greg Bowker

As a fire-breathing dragon passed her, she described her favourite parts of parades - people squirting water at the crowd and Santa.

When the big man himself came through, there was a huge applause with many children in the crowd waving excitedly, cheering and yelling "Santa".

Once the parade ended, the fun continued in Aotea Square through the afternoon with Santa's Party. There was food, vendors and more entertainment.

Event organiser Ronelle Thompson said she came up with the steampunk theme after a recent trip to Oamaru and fell in love with the style of clothing which is used in movies including the Golden Compass.