Floats welcome in the festive spirit
Hundreds of cheering families lined Richmond's main road from Edward St to Cambridge St during the Pak ' n Save Richmond Santa Parade last week.
Organiser Kim Quint said the the parade was great, with an excellent variety of floats and a "great crowd". It finished in a blaze of sunshine despite rain being forecast for the afternoon.
"Santa's always the highlight, obviously, but there's some amazing floats out there" said Richmond Unlimited assistant Toni Lane.
Santa took questions from the crowd about what they wanted for Christmas before the top floats were announced. Items requested included a computer, a furby, some tadpoles and a unicorn, among other more pedestrian gifts.
Grace Church won the coveted "Best Float" spot with their float, which involved a large flat-bed truck and trailer carrying a live band and working barbecue, followed by two vintage cars. Their prize was an $800 voucher for Pak' n Save.
Waverly Street Kindergarten's crew of people-sized strawberries won it a $500 voucher for second prize, and Stoke Montessori got a $400 voucher for their pukeko-themed float. ITM and Scott Construction won a $300 voucher as fourth prize for their float, which featured mascot Tim Timber.
Parent Danella Field said her favourite part of participating in the Santa parade was seeing the creativity of all the different groups, while three-year-old son James said the best bit for him was being on Stoke Montessori's truck.
Six-year-old Scarlett Lester said her favourite float was Richmond Boredom Busters because they blew bubbles, while friend Billie Edgley, five, preferred the bagpipe group in Sundial Square.
"I like it," said parent Maisie Lester. "It's fun for the kids, it gets them really excited."
Erin and Stuart Newport said they had been going to the Santa parade every year for 11 years. Daughters Brenna and Mia said they looked forward to "everything" about the celebration.
Ambulance officer on duty Bronwyn Matthews said she advised her cadets Paige Matthews and Ellie Ross to look out for sunstroke and dehydration during the parade, but team manager Gary Tobin said only one person sought medical attention during the event. He said they were treated on the scene and did not need to be hospitalised, describing it as a good result considering the thousands who attended.
"If you look at the number of people who were there, that's about as close to zero as you can get without it actually being zero," he said.
Paige, Bronwyn's daughter, said public events like the parade were a great way to get some practise in the field before moving up the ranks in volunteer ambulance service. Nelson's district cadet of the year, Sam Polglaze, said learning new emergency-services skills was "wicked".