Parade proves a major hit with locals

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The Waitaki District Santa Parade has passed through town for another year, and it was a big one.

Organiser Anton Roswell said this year’s parade was “definitely” the biggest Santa parade yet.

More than 10,000 people from across the Waitaki district flocked to Oamaru to see over 110 floats taking part in the parade.

They were treated to trucks, trailers, helicopters and even a plane flying overhead.

Mr Roswell said it cost more than $30,000 to run the event, but it could not have happened without the support of the community.

“All of these sponsors are the ones that actually made it happen,” he said.

“If we didn’t have all those sponsors, we couldn’t do it.”

Unbridled enthusiasm and Christmas spirit from the community drew people to the parade, he said.

“You just don’t see that real community spirit in other towns.”

Major standouts to the public included the plane flying overhead, the helicopters and a llama float from Palmerston, Mr Roswell said.

Jason Kerrison performed at the end of the parade.

After being played in by the pipe band, he was expected to play two songs, but ended up playing for half an hour because of the crowd’s enthusiasm, Mr Roswell said.

Waitakians competed for the title of best float, he said.

The title of best business float was taken by Laser Plumbing, which won a $500 prize.

The honour of best community float was taken by two groups, Barnardos and the Waitaki Recreation Centre, which each won $250 prizes.

Papakaio School won the best school float and took home a $500 prize.

The floats were judged by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher.

Despite an “absolutely huge” parade this year, work was already under way to top it next year, Mr Roswell said.

Turn to page 8 for photos of the event.

By DAVID DE LOREAN