City comes up Christ­mas

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

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.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Santa lobs lol­lies into the crowd dur­ing his tri­umphal en­try to the city on Sun­day at the tail-end of the tra­di­tional fes­tive pa­rade.

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