Rotorua's annual Christmas event will be hosted at a new location this year, with a brand new route planned.
The Rotorua Christmas Parade & Festival will be held at the Government Gardens on November 30 from 11am. Event manager Alia Branson said this year's event would include a new route, time and format.
Starting at the Energy Events Centre car park, the procession will follow a loop along Queens Dr, left on to Hinemaru St and finishing back outside the Energy Events Centre.
Branson was excited about the new parade location and route and said, like most events, change had been part of the parade's history.
Once held as a New Year's Day parade down Fenton St, it was later adapted to a large loop around the city. In more recent years the trustees made a decision to use a shorter route through town, hold the event later in the afternoon and show a movie on the green in the evening.
Branson said this year, with the support of the events key stake holders and event partners, they decided it was time to offer something fresh.
"An event that celebrates a space that is unique to our city, with less traffic management and crowd control risks, all while giving our visitors and locals a safe, fun, free experience.
"I am really excited to be in a position to deliver events that have meaning and connect our community. Events like the Christmas Parade have a focus on creating memories and help build town pride, The Government Gardens is the perfect place to hold a safe, fun, free family event in Rotorua," she said.
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Local community groups will run free activities, including Santa photos, a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, and the Little Miss and Mrs Rotorua dress-up children's pageant around the gardens until 2pm.
Branson said entries were still coming in for the parade, with about 30 groups taking part so far.
"Most of these are community groups, clubs, preschools and daycares," she said.
"We are seeing fewer entries from the business sector each year."
This year's float line-up will give a great international feel to the parade, with many cultural groups taking part and creative entries from Tipu Ora, St Mary's Catholic School, Central Kids and Te Aka Mauri.
Branson said families will be able to snap a free photo with Santa after the parade.
Meanwhile, Santa will make an appearance at the Rotorua Central shopping mall from December 14.
The mall's facilities manager Gary Herbert said people will be able to take their own photos with Santa for free.
Herbert said the mall was also gearing up for its 24 Days of Christmas promotion with NZME, where they will be giving away prizes every seven minutes for three hours from December 14.
"One of them includes a TV, which is a bit special," he said.
There will also be a Little Miss and Little Mr Rotorua fancy dress competition on the day.
From 12pm, children aged two to 10 years old will be able to enter their costume.
A special prize will be awarded for the best DIY costume for children who create their outfits from recycled items.
The cost to enter was $2 and entry forms could be collected from Honeycomb Hair Salon and Designer Direct Ltd.
The parade details
■ What: 2019 Rotorua Santa Parade
■ When: Saturday, November 30, 11am to 2pm
■ Where: Rotorua Government Gardens
■ More information: www.christmasparade.co.nz