City comes up Christmas
Gloomy and glum the skies may have been, but the growly clouds had a tinsel lining, holding it together for the city’s annual Santa parade.
Even the wind died away and the 50 or so Christmas floats made their way around The Square in relatively calm conditions.
Parade co-ordinator for Kairanga Lions Carol Kelly says the lack of wind was a bonus, and made a difference to the quality of the floats. ‘‘We were buzzing. We had such a good day. It’s the best parade we’ve had. Members from all the Lions clubs thought so.’’
Kairanga Lions took over the event in 2013 following a threeyear experiment with non-motorised parades.
Prior to the event, the Red Cross market, bouncy castles and music provided the traditional warm-up act. Doug Wilson from sound, lighting and events com- pany One Night Only says it was the biggest pre-parade crowd he’d seen in four years of running the The Square soundstage.
Starting at the earlier time of 2pm, the procession was led by Town Crier Caroline Robinson in an open-topped classic car.
Paramedics from the Fire Service float proved they were not just on board as decoration when they were called over to provide first aid to a boy at the foot of the cenotaph who had cut his hand.
Among the more impressive floats were those built especially by Manawatu Gangshow – West End Kindergarten’s Polar Express, the Unity Singers’ giant candelabra, Snoopy’s Xmas bells for Bainesse School, and the giant candy canes.
Award for the Best Community Float went to the Manawatu Chinese Association’s lion dance; Best School to the combined St James and St Vincent de Paul for their live animal nativity, and Best Business to Manawatu University Students Association – Radio Control float.
Decorated children’s bikes made a comeback, and Carol says next year they hope to build on this year’s 12 excellent entries.
Reactions were mixed, from the typical monosyllabic ‘‘good’’ to ‘‘I liked the lollies’’ from the kids, with ‘‘hardly wow factor’’ and ‘‘better than the walking parade of a few years ago’’ to ‘‘really enjoyable’’ from the adults.
Santa lobs lollies into the crowd during his triumphal entry to the city on Sunday at the tail-end of the traditional festive parade.