Santa Claus is com­ing to town

Central Leader - - Lifestyles -

Just 11 more sleeps un­til the great Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade

Hey kids! You’d bet­ter be on your best be­hav­iour be­cause Santa Claus is com­ing to town. And this year St Nick is bring­ing ex­tra sparkle be­cause it’s the di­a­mond an­niver­sary of the Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade.

The Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade re­turns to the Heart of Auck­land at 2pm on Sun­day, Novem­ber 30 (rain date De­cem­ber 7) and this year Santa’s bring­ing more helpers than ever.

For 75 years, Santa has taken time out of his hec­tic toy assem­bling sched­ule to fly from the North Pole to Auck­land to en­ter­tain the chil­dren of the city.

Ever since the pa­rade be­gan, thou­sands of par­ents and chil­dren have lined the foot­paths to wit­ness Auck­land’s first real Christ­mas street spec­ta­cle. The pa­rade was led by sev­eral highly dec­o­rated carts pulled by cre­atively-adorned horses ac­com­pa­nied by a pack of colour­ful char­ac­ters such as Wag­gles and Gog­gles, Man and the Gi­ant and The Big Fid­dle.

The Pa­rade has grown over the years to be­come the spec­tac­u­lar show it is to­day, with a mix of mod­ern and tra­di­tional floats and char­ac­ter­based cos­tumes. The phi­los­o­phy be­hind it re­mains true to the wishes of Farm­ers founder Robert Laid­law 75 years ago – a gift of fes­tiv­ity and fan­tasy for the chil­dren of the city.

This year’s Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade marks its spe­cial di­a­mond mile­stone with an ar­ray of ad­di­tional new floats and a vi­brant cast that’s sure to kick off the fes­tive sea­son in glit­ter­ing style.

“This year’s Pa­rade is go­ing to be the best yet,” says or­gan­iser Pam Glaser. “To cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary we’re bring­ing the fan­tasy and fun of the sea­son to Auck­land in a way that’s never been done be­fore – with four mas­sive in­flat­able floats that need to be seen to be be­lieved.”

The four gi­ant in­flat­able floats mea­sure around 15 me­tres tall and have been shipped in from the United States es­pe­cially for the oc­ca­sion. Watch out for the Christ­mas Grinch and Dr Seuss favourites Cat in the Hat, Horton the Ele­phant and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

And you won’t be able to miss Kung Fu Panda on his New Zealand de­but, all el­bows and legs with his kooky brand of mar­tial arts – sure to be a huge hit with the kids.

Peter Tay­lor is the man be­hind the scenes who has the in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant job of putting the Santa Pa­rade floats to­gether, some­thing he has been do­ing for around 35 years.

“The Auck­land Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade is the big­gest pa­rade in the coun­try, and the floats this year are re­ally the best yet to mark what is a spe­cial an­niver­sary,” Mr Tay­lor says from his se­cret work­shop. “I’m sure they’ll bring smiles to the faces of many an Auck­lan­der.”

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