Crowd wowed by diverse parade

Ever wondered what a couple of Jafas would make of Blenheim's Christmas Parade?

Well, they loved it.

Sarnim and Katia Dean moved to Blenheim on Thursday with their four-month-old son Anson.

They moved from Auckland for work. Mr Dean is an analyst for Marlborough District Council and wanted a taste of the "real New Zealand".

"Why live in a beautiful country like New Zealand and live in Auckland?" he said. "It's not the greatest city."

In between taking photographs, with Anson strapped firmly to his back, Mr Dean said he was amazed by the diversity of the Christmas Parade.

He did not know Blenheim had a Filipino community, as members danced along in the procession on Saturday.

"There are heaps of different acts, it's so diverse and accessible," he said. "In Auckland you would have to park on the other side of town and walk 40 minutes.

"Then you would have 15 rows of kids to look over and you wouldn't see anything."

The procession of 34 floats, including Marlborough Lines' Santa sleigh, started outside Blenheim School, in Hutcheson St, at 2pm.

It made its way around Blenheim town centre, with parade participants throwing out lollies, before returning to Blenheim School.

"It's pretty blooming good, actually," Mr Dean said.

Blenheim woman Judith Zimmerman was watching the parade in High St with a friend's child.

She needed an excuse to attend the procession as her two children were at their father's this weekend.

"It's awesome, we love coming," she said.

The parade marked the start of Christmas, Ms Zimmerman said.

Blenheim man Mark Gumbrell was with his two-year-old son Henry, who wanted to see the fire engine.

"He is only two so doesn't remember last year's, but this year it starts building Christmas up for him.

"Plus it gives my wife a little break if we come here and spend some time together."

This year's winning float was that belonging to the Marlborough Kindergarten Association.

Women's Federation came second with Idea Services taking third.

In the walking groups, the SPCA just pipped the Blenheim and District Pipe Band to this year's title.

The Marlborough Express