This year's Rotorua Christmas Parade and Festival is one with a difference.

There is a new route, time and format which event manager Alia Branson believes, will be "a true celebration of our amazing city in a stunning and unique space".

The Government Gardens will be the new location, with the parade to start at 11am.

The procession will follow a loop beginning at the Energy Events Centre carpark, moving along Queens Dr, turning left onto Hinemaru St and finishing back outside the Energy Event Centre.

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Alia from Boost Events, the company organising the event on behalf of the festival's trust since 2016 is excited about this year's changes.

There will be a map on the festival's website soon to show locals the best places to view the parade.

She says the information will also outline all the new and free activities alongside the parade.

Local community groups will run these whānau-based activities in different venues around the gardens until 2pm.

The list includes photos with Santa, a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, games and the Little Miss and Mrs Rotorua dress-up children's pageant.

Alia says entries are still coming in, and every year there is an increase in walking groups who join the parade, and fewer entries on trucks.

"We are tracking for around 30 groups giving up their time to be part of this awesome free community event.

"Most of these are community groups, clubs, preschools and day-cares. We are seeing fewer entries from the business sector each year.

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"We understand that the pressures on staffing and budgets at this time of year make it hard for companies to invest in a float. We would love to see this grow again and [we] appreciate the support from those who do join us."

There are a few requirements for entering a float if people are still interested.

"Our parade is really by the community for the community. You can still enter online at www.christmasparade.co.nz and the full terms of entry are outlined there. The main thing is to be fun, creative and family-friendly."

Alia says this year's line-up gives a great international feel to the parade, with many cultural groups taking part.

There are also creative entries, such as from Tipu Ora, St Mary's Catholic School, Central Kids and Te Aka Mauri.

The public are reminded to keep off the road during the parade. Santa will stick around after the parade has finished, meeting the public.

"Santa will be there for sure and after the parade you can get a free photo with him."

There will be a rolling road closure around the parade route as it goes past and Queens Dr will be closed from early Saturday morning.

Alia says this free event can only happen in the community with support from its sponsors, Rotorua Lakes Council, Boost Events and NZME.

"Thanks to all the amazing volunteers who give up their time so you can enjoy yours. Please be supportive, cheer loud and have fun."

The details
■ What: 2019 Rotorua Santa Parade
■ When: Saturday, November 30, 11am to 2pm
■ Where: Rotorua Government Gardens
■ More information: www.christmasparade.co.nz