Sun shines on Santa Parade
Colourful characters float on pastKATE DAVIDSON
Peter Pan, baby Jesus, Zumba dancers, stilt walkers and Father Christmas were out in full display under the warm sun for The Leader Nelson City Santa Parade and Nelson Christmas Carnival.
An estimated 15,000 people lined Trafalgar St yesterday afternoon lapping up the sunshine, music, lollies, icecream, balloons, bubbles, dancing and crisp apples.
MC Murray Leaning said the parade was "awesome" and had a "nice family vibe". He was impressed with the colour and vibrancy of the procession and how many new floats there were.
"It just brings the whole community in touch with that spirit of Christmas and you get to see everybody," he said.
Sealord's pirate ship made of recycled materials was a winner with him.
Tehani Cornelissen, 4, said her favourite part of the parade was the Motueka and Brightwater Zumba group with their Rio carnival-inspired costumes.
Zumba leader Lynne Painter said the dancers had a fun day and had made their costumes themselves.
Jo Hunter brought her daughter Harriet, 6, along to watch her sister Emilie, 9, in the Save the Children Float - which was Harriet's favourite, along with the bubble machine float.
"It was great, it was lovely," said Ms Hunter. "It's a great time of the year. I just love Christmas and it's such a good community feel."
Kevin Choi and Steph Vining, 18, perched on a bench for the best view and reminisced about the days when they had featured in the parade. The llamas and trolley derby were their picks of the day.
Sam and Paula Schryvers, aka Mary and Joseph, carried their 3-week-old son Oliver as the baby Jesus in the nativity scene. Oliver slept peacefully throughout.
As the parade finished, the crowds followed it down to Trafalgar Park where the Nelson Christmas Carnival, combined with the Outdoor Recreation Expo, was under way.
After talking with Father Christmas, James Donoghue, 4, got his Christmas wish - an icecream for the warm summer day.
Combining the carnival with the Outdoor Recreation Expo added a new range of activities including a rock climbing wall, a mountainbike track, and a relay with children carrying kayaks with cut-out bottoms. Exhibitor for We-no-nah canoes, James Alker was all for combining the carnival with the outdoor expo as "a huge load of people" came down after the parade.
"It's awesome, look at all the people . . . I have had loads of people talk to me," he said.
Senior adviser for community recreation at Sport Tasman Dave Tippett estimated 3000 to 4000 people went through the expo - double those in previous years.
Parade director Huup Waagen was impressed by the "high quality floats" and "the biggest crowd" the parade had ever had.
More photos, p5
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