Two children in front of us at the Santa parade in Blenheim on Saturday were almost more entertaining than the parade itself.
The pair, a boy and a girl, were standing right on the edge of the footpath, craning forward so they could look along Market St to see what was coming.
The boy, who was about 5, gave a running commentary for anyone around who cared to listen. It didn't seem to worry him at all that no-one did.
The little girl, who was about a year younger, just squealed with delight at every new float that came into view.
From their height, they saw lots of things I would have missed. At one stage the boy stood up, pointed at a truck and shouted "shark". He was in awe. It took me a while to spot the large grey cutout shark attached to the grille of a truck, even with the boy pointing to it.
They waved and laughed and pointed. They collected stickers and lollies and posters being given out by people in the parade and had a thoroughly good time.
It didn't matter to them that this wasn't the flashest parade in the country. All they cared about was that there were decorated trucks, people were wearing costumes and there was lots of music from marching bands and sound systems on the floats.
And at the end was Santa Claus, sitting comfortably on a float led by his reindeer and surrounded by children.
I was impressed by the number of people involved in the parade. It must have taken hundreds of people to decorate the floats and get them all to the right place at the right time, and there were hundreds walking along the route, waving, smiling, giving out treats or just "making sure".
The parade is organised by Marlborough 4 Fun, but a great many volunteers put in their time, such as the Lions club members putting out the crowd control tape beforehand and rolling it up again afterwards.
Big cities have big parades that take big budgets. But I reckon, from looking around on Saturday, that people got more of a kick seeing their friends and their kids on the floats than they would from seeing some of those fancy floats. This is Blenheim's parade, full of Blenheim people. Just as the Picton parade last weekend was full of Picton people.
- The Marlborough Express