Santas' presence fill The Square
The festive season is under way in Palmerston North with the lighting of the city's big Christmas tree last night and an invasion of Santas into The Square.
The lights on the tree, which stands in The Square each December, were turned on by deputy mayor Jim Jefferies after the star at its peak was placed by 6-year-old Kase Williams. Kase won the honour through a More FM competition and was helped in the task, high above The Square on a cherry picker, by station DJ Justin Evans.
Kase said the experience had been "fun" and while he was high above The Square he had not been scared.
With the tree ready, Cr Jefferies flicked the switch to turn on the tree's lights after a countdown from the crowd that had gathered.
With the city's Christmas Parade tomorrow, Cr Jefferies said it felt like Christmas had now come to Palmerston North.
He said the turnout for the tree lighting was the largest he had seen and it was great to have so many children enjoying the evening.
Many in the crowd were wearing Santa suits after taking part in Palmerston North's first Great KidsCan Santa Run. Comprised of three laps around The Square in a Santa suit, the run is a fundraiser for KidsCan.
It started in Auckland in 2008 and has spread to more centres since. About 300 Santas took part in Palmerston North, with organisers calling it the largest Santa run in the event's history.
First across the line was Linton's Nick Moses.
More at home in army fatigues, Mr Moses said the distance was not an issue but it was still hot going running in the suit.
"It doesn't breathe very well."