Christmas parade takes Latin flavour

MEGAN SMYTH
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
Rogelio
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
Rogelio Carles-Rosas with the Latin-themed float he made for the Santa parade.

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The Latin beat will continue in Wellington this Christmas when a themed nativity float brings a carnival feel to the city's 64th Santa Parade.

The LatinBeat group is known for its performances in the Cuba St Carnival, and is continuing to spice up the streets by participating in the parade on Sunday.

''One of our members suggested we put a Latin American-themed float in the Christmas parade,'' club treasurer Dama Black says.

''We've tried to get every single South American and Central American country represented.''

There will be up to 15 children on the float, which features a Latin American Mary, Joseph, a star, a shepherd and baby Jesus, as well as the animals.

The Latin American flavour will be enhanced by dancers wearing national costumes performing alongside the float.

LatinBeat is a non-profit, totally voluntary community organisation committed to promoting and enjoying the fun of Latin-inspired dance, music and culture in Wellington.

The Latin-American presence is growing in New Zealand.

Wellington is home to five Latin American embassies as well as the Latin Quarter. LatinBeat has performed in the Cuba Street Carnival since its inception.

Besides LatinBeat, there will be about 80 groups participating in the parade this year with themed floats like Egyptian, Circus, Treasure Island, Christmas Toy, Spaceship and Buzzy Bee and, of course, Santa and his reindeer.

The parade starts at the corner of Ballance St and Lambton Quay at 2pm and continues down Lambton Quay, into Willis St, Mercer St, Victoria St and Manners St, ending at the corner of Manners and Cuba streets.

About 60,000 spectators are expected at the parade. There will be entertainment at Waitangi Park from 3.30pm till 4.30pm at Santa's Party in the Park.

The festivities will continue in the park with Carols by Candlelight at 7pm.

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- The Dominion Post

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