Future of Timaru Santa Parade assured after new sponsorship deal
The immediate future of Timaru's santa parade looks assured after PrimePort Timaru committed to a new sponsorship deal with the Timaru Christmas Parade Trust.
The three year pledge makes the port company the parade's major sponsor, plugging the gap left after the trust failed to secure funding from the Timaru District Council.
The council's community development committee in September declined to consider the trust's funding bid after it missed the application deadline.
PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt this week said the company was approached by councillors when there were concerns about future funding.
It subsequently forged a three year sponsorship deal to support the now renamed PrimePort Timaru Christmas Parade.
"We think it's an appropriate community event for PrimePort to get behind," Melhopt said.
"[It is] iconic and gives something back to the community."
Trust spokeswoman Bec Brookland said she was delighted by PrimePort's commitment.
"It is great to have them on board. It guarantees the parade's future for the next three years. "
The port company explored how it might take part in the parade as the floats were prepared for the December 10 event.
Santa's sleigh and reindeer will have fresh look after a $4000 renovation – the first significant touch-up in more than three decades.
The trust, supported by FreshChoice Geraldine, repainted and updated what is considered the most popular float in the Timaru and Geraldine parades.
Brookland thanked Freshchoice Geraldine owner/operator Gary Sheed for his efforts: "I'm sure Santa will be happy."
Brookland confirmed the Timaru parade would return to its usual time, on the first Saturday in December, next year.
The change was a one-off due to a hiccup in advertising the road closures.
The parade will start in North St, turning into Stafford St, before going down the Port Loop Rd to finish at Caroline Bay.
The theme was "Christmas around the world" and anyone could enter, she said.
"We would love new entries from schools, community and cultural groups that have not done so in the past.
"The kids on the floats enjoy it as much as those watching and still get a chance to see Santa on the bay, where there is a lolly scramble and the Caroline Bay Association rides will also be operating."
PrimePort Timaru Christmas Parade entry forms are available from the Timaru Herald, PrimePort Timaru, Movie Max and Port FM.