Motorised Santa parade well received

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 12:00 09/12/2013
Santa
BRINGING CHEER: Santa and his reindeer visit Palmerston North on Saturday.

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Not a grizzle or a moan could be heard above the roar of floats in the Palmerston North Christmas Parade - the first motorised march to be held since 2011.

For the past two years, the Palmerston North parades have been sustainably motor-free - meaning no trucks or floats towed by cars.

Parade participants instead walked the route around The Square or towed floats with golf carts. Even Santa was towed on his pew.

Feilding father Blair Wheeler brought his two boys along and said the parade was much better than last year.

"We came along for the two kids, they liked the traction engine from Te Manawa," he said. "It was much better than last year, more traditional.

"I've always been used to motorised, that's just what you expect."

Palmerston North boys Hunter Easton, 8, and Eli Oudenryn, 8, said their favourite floats were carrying their friends and Santa, "because he gave away lots of lollies".

Palmerston North woman Rachel Lucas said the parade was more involved for the children.

"The kids definitely enjoyed it more than last year's," she said. "And the kids in the parade are up on the trucks for them to see and there are more people."

Parade organiser Carol Kelly, of Kairanga Lions, said 52 floats made the 1700-metre journey around the inner CBD and The Square.

"It was going back to a traditional parade, some people struggled to find vehicles and about one-third of the people were walking still - I haven't heard anything but good things," she said. "In terms of creativity, I think it was a step above what we used to be even before it was non-motorised.

"I think people have got a bit of pride back in the parade. I think it was great that we had something people realised they wanted to make better so it really has got the community back in behind the parade."

Santa threw out 70 kilograms of lollies during the parade.

Prizes for the best floats were given to Downtown, St Matthew's Church and Cloverlea School.

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- Manawatu Standard

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