Counting down to Santa's big day

20:38, Nov 12 2012
Having a laugh as they try on costumes for this year’s Santa Parade are, from left, Tyla Hunt and Amber Waters, both 16, and 13-year-olds Hamish Eunson and Kieryn Gibbs.
SANTA'S HELPERS: Having a laugh as they try on costumes for this year’s Santa Parade are, from left, Tyla Hunt and Amber Waters, both 16, and 13-year-olds Hamish Eunson and Kieryn Gibbs. 

The elves have been busy and Santa's getting ready for this year's Southland Santa Parade.

Parade manager Rob Ashby said he - and the big man in red - were on track with organising the event, now in its 14th year.

"Santa is ready to go. We're seeing him next week and he's giving us the list of the requirements he has, so we'll cater to him and keep him happy," Mr Ashby said.

Once again, the event was a real community affair, with about 1200 people and 70 community groups set to be involved. The day would also offer something for everybody, from grandparents down to young children, he said.

But, like always, the parade would be aimed at creating the joy of the season for Southland's kids.

"The amount of kids that are involved, the costumes and the makeup, it's all about the kids having a good time."

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The Christmas theme will be boosted this year and the parade would also feature some of the region's top musicians to keep the crowd entertained, he said.

The family vibe was the reason for the parade's ongoing popularity, he said.

"I think it's the only true family parade we have here in Southland and there's 20,000 people who come along each year. It's the biggest one day event Southland puts on, and people love it."

While he was new to the role of manager, having taken over the task from Santa Parade stalwart Lyndal Ludlow for the first time this year, the volunteers helping to organise the parade were ensuring everything was ticking over nicely.

"The faces are still the same and that's the beauty of it, the people who volunteer have done so for years and years and years.

"They know exactly what they're doing . . . they're a pretty good group of people," he said.

Especially Santa. The 2012 Santa Parade will start at 2pm on Gala St, on November 24.

The Southland Times