Christmas Parade packs the streets

22:58, Dec 02 2012
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Kaelani, left, 7, and Eva, 4, Pockson await the parade near Mandeville Street.
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Lily McBreen, 5, brought the car along to sit in.
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James Day, 7, got to ride in the Star Wars-themed racer as part of the Christchurch Engine Centre's float.
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Hannah Smith, 12, was blowing kisses pushed by mum, Elizabeth, on behalf of the Highland Dancers float.
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The Christchurch Chinese community was out in force with Lion Dance groups.
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The Christchurch Chinese community was out in force with Lion Dance groups.
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The Wizard was casting spells from an unusual position.
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The Christchurch Filipino community took part.
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The NZ Army band provided entertainment with their dance-like marching step.
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The Pony Parties group had Alice van Soest, left, and Taylor Harris, both 8, on what seemed to be a two-headed pony.
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Of course, Santa was the main attraction.
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Darcy Goodall of JK Danceworks impressed with his acrobatics.

Floats faltered and Santa sweated through his annual visit to Christchurch as the city welcomed Christmas with anything but a winter wonderland.

About 120,000 parade-goers endured a very un-North Pole-like 29 degrees Celsius at the Santa Parade in Riccarton yesterday, and the temperature passed 30C in other parts of the city.

WeatherWatch.co.nz analyst Richard Green said yesterday was the hottest December 2 in the city since records began in 1908.

"Here we are on Friday with reports of hail and the temperature struggling to get to 13 degrees.

"At Christchurch Airport [yesterday] it was 30 degrees and in Cashmere and Belfast it reached 33 degrees."

Last summer it took until January for the weather hit the 30C mark, Green said.

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"It might be indicative, we could be getting more of this [weather]."

Santa Parade manager Pam Morris said the heat caused several floats to break down.

"A lot of the floats have old motors and sooner or later something is going to happen.

"It could have something to do with the motors overheating."

One float broke down and minutes later the float towing it through the parade also broke down, she said.

"We had to get a car in to tow them."

Morris said she felt sorry for the people dressed in heavy costumes throughout the parade.

"I'm not joking, [the costumes] are absolutely dripping wet. I'm going to have to air them out overnight."

However, the heat did not deter the crowds.

Morris said the man who plays Santa Claus (she would not name him as he wants it to be kept a secret) said it was the biggest Christmas parade crowd he had seen in almost 20 years.

"He said he was gobsmacked," she said.

"He said there were more people there than normal - 120,000 easily."

MetService duty forecaster Nicole Ranger said Christchurch hit a high of 29.3C and temperatures would drop over the rest of the week, but should remain in the mid-20s until rain arrived on Thursday and Friday.

The Press