By Imogen Crispe
Chocolate, Dr Seuss, the New Zealand Army and of course Santa will feature in tomorrow’s Santa Parade in Auckland.
Chocolate is one of the themes at the Farmer’s Santa Parade this year with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory float and a Cadbury interactive shop at Santa’s Party.
Parade general manager Pam Blaser says every year the parade has some new floats, and this year it’s the chocolate factory-themed float complete with a chocolate waterfall and Oompa Loompas.
“We just thought that Willy Wonka was so perfect. It’s topical because of the movie, but it’s also a classic.”
There will also be a brand new Christmas train float and a range of new Dr Seuss-themed inflatable floats which have come from the United States, as well as old favourites such as Bob the Builder.
Starting at 2pm, the New Zealand Army band from Christchurch will lead the parade - the first time they have been in it since 2008.
“I’m so excited about that,” Ms Blaser says.
She is expecting lots of people to gather along the 2.2km route, which starts on Mayoral Dr, goes down Queen St, turns into Customs St then up Albert St.
“The crowd is huge. Other than for the Rugby World Cup, you don’t see such big crowds.
“It’s going to be busy-busy.”
Tournament Parking is allowing people to stand in their carpark which overlooks Albert St to watch the parade from level four. Areas will be coned off for people near the parking bays which overlook the street.
Patio Restaurant and the Shakespeare Tavern and Brewery both offer seating on their balconies which overlook the parade route, but they are both already completely booked out for Sunday.
Ms Blaser recommends Albert St as a great place to watch the parade from “because that fills up last”. But she says “anywhere is a good spot”.
She says people are allowed to bring chairs, and recommends also bringing hats, snacks, drinks and rain jackets and wearing comfortable clothes and shoes.
“You’ve got to be comfortable, it’s a long wait.”
Santa’s Party in Aotea Square at 3:15pm will have more Christmas-themed entertainment and activities.
Ms Blaser encourages people to arrive in the city before 12pm to make sure they get a good spot, avoid traffic and road closures, and catch the pre-parade entertainment starting at 1pm.
There will be free parking for parade goers at Auckland Council carparks in Victoria St, Downtown and Karangahape Rd.
All inner city roads will be closed between 12pm and 4pm on Sunday.
If the parade is postponed due to bad weather an announcement will be made on Newstalk ZB after 10am on Sunday. The rain date is Sunday, December 2.
For more information see the Santa Parade website.
Santa Parade timetable
12pm – inner city roads close
1pm – pre-parade entertainment begins
2pm – Santa Parade begins from Mayoral Drive
3:15pm – Santa’s Party in Aotea Square begins