INDEPENDENT NEWS

Farmers Santa Parade A Huge Success

Published: Mon 30 Nov 2009 08:59 AM
Farmers Santa Parade a huge success
The annual Farmers Santa Parade welcomed Father Christmas to town today to the glorious roars of the estimated 250,000-strong crowd of mums, dads and littlies.
For the 76th year the Farmers Santa Parade wound its way through the heart of Auckland city in what organisers are saying was the biggest and best parade day yet.
“Every year I think we will struggle to deliver better parade next year, yet here I am again, thinking this is the best one to date,” says Chairman of the Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust Michael Barnett.
“I can’t thank enough the 4,000 volunteers who helped out with the parade this year; without them this fantastic event would never happen.”
Proudly leading the 2009 parade in his role as Grand Marshall – and getting a huge welcome from the crowd – was soccer’s All White superstar Ivan Vicelich and some of the kids from the team he coaches.
And volunteer collectors for the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation (LBF) out and about amongst the crowd report an excellent response to their requests for donations.
“Aucklanders really got into the Christmas spirit this year and their generosity will help save lives of children diagnosed with Leukaemia,” says Mr Barnett. “It will put a little sparkle into the lives of New Zealanders and their families living with leukaemia and blood related diseases.”
Farmers Managing Director Rod McDermott says he is thrilled with the event. “We continue to support the Santa Parade with the same enthusiasm as Robert Laidlaw did all those years ago when he set it up”.
“It continues to give us great amounts of pleasure to see the joy the parade brings to thousands of children every year and the great work achieved by the LBF with donations from the public.
After a short break, planning will begin for the 2010 parade.
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The Auckland Farmers Santa Parade is proudly brought to you by: Farmers Auckland City, Heart of the City, TVNZ, Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Barfoot & Thompson, Fonterra Brands (Tip Top) Limited, John Andrew FordSpotlight Limited, Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits and Pascoes
Auckland Farmers Santa Parade 2009
Background
The Farmers Santa Parade began 76 years ago in 1934. Back then thousands of parents and children lined the footpaths to witness Auckland's first real Christmas street spectacle. The Parade was led by several highly decorated carts pulled by creatively-adorned horses and were accompanied by a pack of colourful characters such as Waggles and Goggles, Man and the Giant and The Big Fiddle.
The Parade has grown over the years to become the spectacular show it is today, with a mix of modern and traditional floats and character-based costumes. The philosophy behind it remains true to the wishes of Farmers founder Robert Laidlaw 76 years ago - a gift of festivity and fantasy for the children of the city.
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