City Christmas Parade 'under review'

02:44, Dec 12 2012

Palmerston North's non-motorised Christmas parade looks set to be dumped, with the organisers hinting motors will return next year.

The city's second attempt at a people-powered Christmas parade has drawn a thumbs-down response from the public, leading its organisers to announce a review.

The annual parade run by the Kairanga Lions and Destination Manawatu was clean, green and non-motorised for a second year, but a mixed reaction from spectators has led its organisers to conclude the show ''failed to meet expectations''.

It will come under review in the new year, with a working party to field feedback from across the community on the shape the parade will take next Christmas.

Destination Manawatu chief executive Lance Bickford said this year's participants did their best, but had been let down by  variety of factors, including poor weather and gaps in the procession.

The non-motorised aspect of the parade was a key target of public criticism, he said.


''There were people who simply didn't like the concept, and we haven't managed to turn those views around.

''Quite simply, that isn't possible when the event doesn't run as it should, and fails to address concerns from the previous year.''

Other features of the parade had worked well, including keeping traffic disruptions to a minimum, the removal of cost barriers for schools and groups participating, and the dedication of participants.

''Last year was a completely new initiative, and the feedback was largely positive, but serious problems and criticisms were also submitted.

"This year's feedback was mixed, quite honestly.

"There were those who told us they loved it, and that it was fantastic that kids could participate. However, the parade failed to address some concerns from last year and that has been made very clear.''

The motor-free parade inspired Feilding to dub its own version the ''wheelie big'' parade.

Palmerston North city councillor Lew Findlay was never a fan of the motor-free parade.

''It was a stupid idea, I was against it right from the start,'' he said.

''It's a joke... With cars and floats you can still have the schools there, still have them walking and doing their stuff.

''Children deserve a good Christmas parade, it's something that they look forward to.''

He said he had taken in last year's parade alongside two vans full of people from Masterton, who were not impressed.

''The guy I was standing next to - the language was unusable. He was furious that they they spent all that money to come and see that.''

Feilding Promotion manager Helen Worboys praised Palmerston North's parade organisers for heeding  opinion.

''It has got to work for the community, so good on them for giving it a go, then taking the comments on board and rethinking it.''

Manawatu Standard