Thousands of children turned out on the streets of Rotorua today to catch a glimpse of the man in red. Santa hats, reindeer antlers and the essential Paw-Patrol caps could be spotted as far as the eye could see as the annual Rotorua Christmas Parade took place.
The hour-long procession started at the Energy Events Centre, made its way through the Government Gardens, down Hinemaru St then back around.
The city's children had prepared themselves to see Santa Claus, one girl exclaiming in the crowd "do you think Santa will be able to give us high fives?"
Bright colours, dancing, all sorts of different music and the ever-popular lollies brought the Christmas spirit.
Cultural floats were a specific highlight of the parade, showcasing the diversity the city had to offer.
The Rotorua Chinese Community Association float was followed by a 10-person long dragon accompanied by the sound of Chinese cymbals and drums.
An exceptionally carved waka filled with people and a man singing a Christmas waiata in the back also had many of the crowd in awe.
The well-known Hare Krishna chant also filled the air as the group took first place in the walking float category.
Local mother Melanie McFadden's two young childrenwere desperate to see Santa.
She said they did it every year and the children were always thrilled to get dressed up in their most festive gear.
Animals and superheroes were popular themes in this year's parade.
The Salvation Army's Barnaby Bear mascot was a fan favourite for a good cuddle, as was a dancing monkey driving a tractor.
Rotorua's annual Christmas parade is on!Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Friday, 29 November 2019
There was even a float that had people riding their horses down the road, including one miniature pony.
Samantha Scowen and her 4-year-old son Peyton were also big fans of the parade.
She said Peyton found it loads of fun and it was a good way to get in the festive spirits.
"To be honest, I think he just loves to come down for the lollies."
Andrea and Steve Mills were down at the parade to see their two daughters, who were dressed as elves for the AMJazz float.
Andrea said the parade was part of being a child.
"Every adult remembers watching and wishing they were in it when they were younger."
She said it signified the start of the festive season.
Steve said it was a great way to "keep the magic of Christmas alive".
Children's squeals could be heard and faces lit up as they laid their eyes on Santa Claus himself, followed cheekily by the grinch.
1st Float - Manaaki Ora - Tipu Ora
2nd Float - Rotorua Aquatic Centre
1st Walking - Hare Krishna
2nd Walking - Rotorua Chinese Community Association
Best Dressed Child - Makiha Twins from The Hits
Best Dressed Adult - Melissa from Cantabria.