Santa parade to be biggest yet

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NBS Ashburton Santa Parade organiser Carol Johns will have bells on this Saturday, as she metaphorically jumps for joy at the number of floats entered.

‘‘This will be our biggest parade yet. Each year it grows. It really has snowballed.’’

She said there were more than 40 entries, the majority of which were floats. Remaining entries included the town’s pipe band, silver band, and emergency vehicles.

Due to road works the original parade route had to be changed. This year’s route starts at the corner of Oak Grove and Walnut Ave. The parade will head east to West St before doing a loop and heading back up Walnut Ave.

Two objections to the parade events resulted in the associated road closure applications being decided by a hearing panel of district councillors. Johns has delivered traffic management plans to 100 households affected and put up signs so regular Ashburton Domain users know not to park along the avenue that morning.

Walnut Ave will be closed from West St to Oak Grove, and Creek Rd will be closed from Queens Drive.

Christmas Carols is the theme this year, with a $500 prize for the best float.

‘‘So far we have eight entries in the themed floats. I know we have a Jingle Bells, O Come All Ye Faithful, a Dinosaurs’ Christmas and an I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus-themed float.’’

On the same day, a Christmas Market is being held in the domain, 11am to 4pm. The Christmas-carol themed floats will park up in the domain after the parade, near the Christmas market, so people can admire the decorations, take photographs. The bands involved in the parade will perform and the winning float will be announced.

Johns had more than 50 stalls booked in for the market.

‘‘We are hoping it will be a great day for families. There will be free sausages, face painting, kiddy train rides. Men will be able to get a free hair cut. People can either bring a picnic or purchase from the food stalls there,’’ Johns said.

Generally 8000 to 10,000 people each year line the streets to see the parade.

‘‘Due to very little shade I encourage people to bring an umbrella, so they can stay around and a enjoy a day for young and old.’’

  • NBS Ashburton Christmas Parade is December 2, beginning 12.30pm, along Walnut Ave from Oak Grove to West St. The Christmas Market is also being held, 11am to 4pm at the Ashburton Domain near the children’s paddling pool.