Santa Claus is all set to sleigh into town

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

Wild­base is about to be the ben­e­fi­ciary of this Sun­day’s Palmer­ston North Christ­mas pa­rade with a $10,000 stock­ing-stuffer.

Event co-or­di­na­tor for or­gan­is­ers Kairanga Lions, Carol Kelly, said mak­ing a com­mu­nity do­na­tion to the wildlife re­cov­ery cen­tre to be built in the Vic­to­ria Es­planade was pos­si­ble be­cause the pa­rade was en­tirely or­gan­ised and staffed by vol­un­teers.

‘‘We con­trib­uted to Wild­base last year, too. No-one gets paid for this. We do it to pro­mote com­mu­nity spirit. As we’re all vol­un­teers, we can give the labour com­po­nent of the pa­rade costs back to the com­mu­nity.’’

Kelly said Kairanga Lions had held the city coun­cil con­tract for the pa­rade for the past five or six years.

That con­ti­nu­ity meant there were ‘‘plenty of bod­ies on the ground on the day who know what they’re do­ing’’.

Kelly said they were plan­ning an in­no­va­tion in The Square to en­hance the pa­rade ex­pe­ri­ence.

At 2pm on Sun­day when the fleet of 60-odd floats rolls down Church St from the Rail­way Land to­wards The Square, peo­ple will be able to watch its progress on a big screen set up in the events quad­rant near the sound stage.

‘‘This is new ter­ri­tory for us, and hope­fully, de­pend­ing on the tech­nol­ogy, we will be able to beam shots of the pa­rade as it gets un­der way, into The Square.’’

Kelly said Santa’s sleigh, which tra­di­tion­ally brings up the rear of the pa­rade, would be weighed down at the start with 100 kilo­grams of lol­lies. It would ob­vi­ously get lighter as the pa­rade pro­gressed.

There had been no prob­lems at­tract­ing en­trants this year, with the pa­rade capped at 60 for lo­gis­tics pur­poses, ‘‘though we nor­mally do take a cou­ple of late­com­ers’’.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pa­rade was free, and Kelly said this had im­proved the qual­ity of the floats.

‘‘When we made en­try free for ev­ery­one, we stopped get­ting so many of those trucks that were dec­o­rated with just a bit of tin­sel.’’

It had also helped make it more com­mu­nity-ori­ented, align­ing the city event with pa­rades in other Manawatu cen­tres.

Christ­mas pa­rade day starts in The Square on Sun­day at 10am with the tra­di­tional Christ­mas mar­ket, and there would be on­stage entertainment be­tween mid­day and 2pm.

Now all that is re­quired is a de­cent break in the weather.

Santa sweet­ens up the pa­rade crowd.

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