Santa’s lit­tle helpers gear up for pa­rade

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Me­lanie Ver­ran

Novem­ber is a chaotic month for the team or­gan­is­ing the Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade.

Cos­tume room man­ager Ronelle Thomp­son spends it li­ais­ing with chore­og­ra­phers, pre­par­ing in­struc­tions for the thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants, check­ing and dou­ble check­ing clothes racks and the hun­dreds of cos­tumes on them and fi­nal­is­ing a mil­lion and one other de­tails.

Mean­while wardrobe mis­tress Mar­a­lyn Meyrick is work­ing “like a mad­woman” fin­ish­ing off cos­tum­ing right up to the last minute.

“Novem­ber’s a time where we work huge hours to be ready,” Ms Thomp­son says.

Putting the show to­gether takes most of the year for the two friends who spend their days sur­rounded by “ab­so­lutely thou­sands” of cos­tumes in a New­ton ware­house.

Ms Thomp­son de­signs out­fits and props and seam­stress Ms Meyrick turns them into a re­al­ity.

“We’ve made three or four hun­dred new cos­tumes this year,” Ms Thomp­son says. “It’s huge and we’ve just fin­ished all the sets so that’s a re­lief.”

The pa­rade has some spe­cial things in store to cel­e­brate its 75th birth­day, in­clud­ing a float fea­tur­ing the 12 days of Christ­mas, some huge bal­loons and a Dr Seuss’ cat in the hat set.

“We’re go­ing to have a good birth­day year.”

It takes more than 4000 peo­ple to bring the show to­gether, in­clud­ing per­form­ers, dancers, mar­shals, make-up artists, ban­ner car­ri­ers and cos­tume min­ders.

For Ms Thomp­son and Ms Meyrick, pa­rade-day on Novem­ber 30 will be a long day, start­ing at the cos­tume room at 5.30am and not end­ing un­til at least 7.30pm.

And af­ter the crowds have gone there is three weeks of wash­ing to be done.

Ms Meyrick says they have be­friended many fam­i­lies who vol­un­teer year af­ter year.

“It’s a real fam­ily thing. It’s nice for us be­cause we see them from when they’re seven and then watch them grow up.”

“We’ve had fam­i­lies where three gen­er­a­tions are in­volved and one lady who had been do­ing it for 40 or 50 years,” Ms Thomp­son says.

Ms Thomp­son’s own fam­ily is no ex­cep­tion. Her daugh­ter Me­gan Mid­dle­ton is dress­ing up for the pa­rade for the fifth time this year, along with her own daugh­ter Asia.

While the spots for vol­un­teers are filled, peo­ple will­ing to sign on as re­serves are still needed.

For more in­for­ma­tion phone Ronelle Thomp­son on 358-2395 or email ronelle@mis­ery.com. • The Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade is on Novem­ber 30 and starts at 2pm. For in­for­ma­tion go to www. santaparade.co.nz.

Photo: FIONA GOODALL

Lit­tle princesses: Me­gan Mid­dle­ton and youngsters Pep­per Tay­lor-Rose, left, and Me­gan’s daugh­ter Asia, both 7, are looking for­ward to be­ing the cen­tre of at­ten­tion on the swan float at the Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade.

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