The annual Rotorua Christmas Parade has become the latest local event to be cancelled due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The annual Christmas event is run by a charitable trust and relies on sponsorship, donations, volunteers and community support to stage the event which, last year, was held in the Government Gardens.
Event manager Alia Branson, from Boost Fundraising & Events, said they didn't make the decision lightly.
"The trustees know that the parade is an annual tradition for many local families and community groups. Unfortunately, with the massive toll on the live entertainment and events sector, financial feasibility, and other risk factors, it's just not viable this year."
She said the trustees wanted to thank everyone who had supported the event, particularly those who had given their time and creativity to building floats and entering walking groups over the years.
Rotorua Christmas Parade trustees will review the event in 2021 and are currently putting their efforts into supporting other festive initiatives in the city run by Rotorua Lakes Council, Rotorua Library and i-Site teams.
Santa's Wonderland will be in the Rotorua Visitor Centre and i-Site on Fenton St and open from Saturday, November 21, until Friday, January 8. Entry is free and the Wonderland will feature Christmas displays including a nativity scene, photos with Santa and themed activities for children.
A free Christmas festival will also be held on December 19 from 10am until 3pm at Jean Batten Square. There will be live performances of Christmas music, arts and crafts activities for the kids and face painting. Santa will be there and there will be a nativity parade through the square.
Rotorua's Christmas parade goes back to 1903, when the first carnival was held. According to the Rotorua Museum website, a committee was established in 1902 and a week-long celebration was held to attract tourists, which included a parade.
That was in place for several decades with the Christmas and New Year carnival programme including racing, concerts, excursions and the parade of decorated vehicles. It was still held in the 1930s despite the Depression.
The parade was held on New Year's Eve for the last time in 1980, the year of the Centennial celebrations.
In 1981 the parade was held on December 19 with the appearance of Santa. Since then the parade has morphed into what we now know as the Santa or Christmas parade.