Man in red ready to roll
Santa guest of honour at Leader ParadeMATT LAWREY
Santa is on his way and the organisers of his pre-Christmas visit this weekend are encouraging everyone to give him a warm Nelson welcome.
The Leader Nelson City Santa Parade will see more than 30 floats heading off down Trafalgar St on Sunday including, at the end of the procession, the big guy himself aboard his bright red reindeer-powered sleigh.
Accompanying the guest of honour will be Nelson children who have volunteered to be elves for the day.
Zoe Fyfe, 11, said she was looking forward to joining Santa.
"I remember watching it when I was little and now being up here is kind of cool," she said.
Her brother Theo, 8, is also excited.
"It's awesome. You get to wave and people shout at you and take photos," he said.
For the first time the parade will be led by a float featuring a boat. This year the Nelson City Brass Band will take a back seat to possibly the cutest tugboat in the world, Nelson's very own Little Toot.
Santa parade stalwart Graham Shirley, who has been involved in every parade since they started more than 25 years ago, said a lot had changed during that time.
"It's become more sophisticated. When we started we only had MDF cut-outs of reindeer on a TNL trailer," he said admiring Santa's impressive sleigh and his polystyrene reindeers this week.
This year's street performers will include motorcyclists doing stunts, unicyclists, marching girls, dancers and clowns. The parade will start at the Church Steps and then head down Trafalgar St before turning into Wainui St and heading down Weka St and North Rd to Founders Heritage Park for the Classic Hits Christmas Carnivale.
Once at the park Santa will be seated in his grotto where he will hear children's present requests.
The carnivale's attractions will include a ferris wheel, bouncy castle and live music lineup that includes The Eva Effect and Shane Casbolt.
Event co-ordinator Huup Waagen said there will be some food carts but he hoped people would also bring picnics.
"It's celebrating the start of summer and the festive season and celebrating new life and new beginnings," he said
And is Santa, himself looking forward to the parade and the carnival?
In a Leader exclusive we can reveal that the globetrotting superstar can't wait.
"It's my highlight of the year because everyone comes to the parade. The whole town turns up," he said.
In what's believed to be a world first, Santa also told The Leader that all his years of waving at people during parades was starting to take its toll.
Not that he was complaining.
"One of the hazards of the job is getting a sore arm but it's a satisfying sore," he said.
- The Leader Nelson City Santa Parade starts at 1pm from the Church Steps this Sunday. The Classic Hits Christmas Carnivale follows at Founders, 2pm till 5pm.
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