Organisers of two Western Bay Christmas parades are hoping predicted heavy rain will hold off long enough for the festivities to go ahead on Saturday..

Organisers of the Tauranga and Te Puke parades will make a call early Saturday morning over whether to go ahead with the events, due to start at 11am on Saturday, or cancel.

The wet forecast for the first weekend of summer has already put paid to at least two other events.

Baypark Family Speedway promoter Bernie Gillon decided to "call it" on the North Island Saloon Car Championship nationals on Thursday, postponing the event to next Saturday.

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He said drivers and their families were coming from all over the North Island for the event, and he did not want them to be inconvenienced by a last-minute cancellation.

This Saturday's Little Big Markets at Coronation Park in Mount Maunganui have also been cancelled.

Seeka Te Puke Christmas Float Parade organiser Rebecca Larsen said the Te Puke parade was set to go ahead as planned unless the weather was really bad on Saturday morning.

Millie Newitt, parade manager of the Trustpower Christmas Parade, is hoping the rain will stay away tomorrow morning. Photo / Andrew Warner
Millie Newitt, parade manager of the Trustpower Christmas Parade, is hoping the rain will stay away tomorrow morning. Photo / Andrew Warner

Millie Newitt, of Downtown Tauranga, parade manager of the Trustpower Christmas Parade, said she would be "gutted" if it had to be cancelled after a year of planning.

"Everyone has worked really hard and put a lot of passion and creativity into this."

She said more than 400 people were set to take part, comprising about 50 floats and walking groups.

"More than 25,000 people came to watch the parade last year."

Highlights this year included more musical groups, a new Downtown Tauranga pirate float, the return of popular walking characters including Batman and the Mad Hatter, and the first appearance of Drogon, a 6m by 3m fire-breathing dragon created by a local cosplayer and to be joined by characters from The Game of Thrones.

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Newitt said if the parade was cancelled, she would look at organising something on the waterfront where people could see the floats at a later date.

As of yesterday afternoon, a heavy rain watch was in place for Tauranga from 9am Saturday to 9am Sunday.

Metservice meteorologist Claire Flynn said she had no good news for parade organisers.

"It's looking like a wet weekend for Tauranga."

She said a front associated with a low sitting out in the Tasman Sea would spread south, bringing long periods of persistent rain to the Bay of Plenty and strong northeasterly winds that could reach gale force in exposed areas.

There would be showers from early Saturday morning as the front spread south across the Western Bay of Plenty, with the main heavy rain band beginning to cross Tauranga in the mid- to late-morning.

"It's going to be a wet day, all day."

She said accumulating rainfall could pose a flooding risk around rivers and waterways.

More showers were forecast for Sunday.

The route of the Trustpower Christmas Parade through Tauranga's CBD. Graphic / supplied
The route of the Trustpower Christmas Parade through Tauranga's CBD. Graphic / supplied

Trustpower Christmas Parade

Main parade

Start: 11am, bottom of Third Avenue north.

Route: Along Devonport Rd through Red Square to The Strand.

Finish: 12pm, bottom of Harrington St.

Parking: Carpark buildings in Elizabeth St and Spring St, limited off-street parking and no on-street parking along the parade route and some side streets from 6am until after the parade.

Other CBD entertainment
12pm: Mayor Greg Brownless will open the first window in the giant advent calendar in Red Square.
12pm-3pm: CCS Disability Action "Celebrate Us" show on the Tauranga Waterfront.
12pm-3pm: Waterfront entertainment with Little Entertainment Company.

Source: taurangachristmasparade.co.nz