Festive spirit given boost this weekend
Santa Claus and his friends will pack Johnsonville with festive cheer at the Northern Wellington Festival on Saturday.
The festival brings community groups together, with the local Rotary club running a market fair and the Lions club running a Christmas parade.
The market starts at 9am at the Johnsonville Community Centre hall, and the parade begins at 11.30am at the corner of Moorefield and Broderick roads.
Lions member and parade organiser Eric Batten said he was confident the sun would shine on the 10,000 people expected over the weekend.
"Since the Christmas parade started in 2000 we've missed one year because of high winds, but apart from that, we've gone ahead in all weathers," he said.
Ohariu MP Peter Dunne has chaired the festival organising committee since 1993, and in recent years has played an elf on the Santa float.
Reprising his role this year, Mr Dunne said he welcomed the injection of fun into the northern suburbs calendar.
"It has been a tough year for many people, so hopefully the festival will lift their spirits a little before Christmas," he said.
"I always look forward to the huge crowds who turn out to see the parade and who come to the market day immediately afterwards."
Besides the parade and market, there will be various events to inspire Christmas cheer over the weekend.
The Cantate Choir will perform at the Johnsonville Uniting Church in Dr Taylor Tce at 7.30pm on Saturday night. Tickets are $15 for adults and free for children.
On Sunday, Alex Moore Park will host a festival of kites, weather permitting. Families are encouraged to bring their own small kites and enjoy the larger ones on display.
There will be flower arrangements from the Johnsonville Floral Art Club at the Uniting Church all weekend, and a display of 55 decorated Christmas trees at the Salvation Army in Johnsonville Rd.