Kiwi’s are a funny old bunch when it comes to traditions aren’t we? Here in New Zealand we don’t have too many hard and fast holiday routines when compared to other countries but we sure love those traditions that have stood the test of time – none more so than the spectacular Farmers Santa Parade which is set to kick off the Christmas season on Sunday 27 November (rain date 4 December) for the 83rd year!
My childhood can pretty easily be delineated by the annual pelting of one’s small body with a barrage of Mackintosh’s toffees, Milkshakes and Minties during the parade, the awe inspiring thrum of the bagpipes as they moved up Queen St and the frantic last minute dash to claim Dad’s shoulders and get a good wave in before Santa passed by for another year.
I loved it in the eighties and I love it even more now that I get to share this special event with my own kids!
Making the Farmers Santa Parade Easy
Don’t put the parade in the too hard basket guys! This is definitely a day that’s a childhood rite of passage and the kids need YOUR help to get there! We took four kids last year, had no trouble finding a carpark, found a perfect, uncrowded, front row spot and didn’t get stuck in traffic on the way home – it can be done and the kids (and you) will have a blast!
- Leave early – rushing = stress. The Farmers Santa Parade 2016 is on Sunday 27 November (rain date 4 December) at the earlier time of 1pm.
- Plan ahead – Know where you’re going ahead of time. Plan your public transport here or figure out where you’re going to park before you get to the city. Enjoy free parking at both Downtown and Victoria St carparks for all vehicles exiting between 1pm and 6pm on parade day!
- Know the new route – The Parade Route starts at the corner of Cook Street and Mayoral Drive, turns left into Queen Street, travels down Queen Street and right into Customs Street East, ending at the corner of Britomart Place. More info here
- Get ready and get in the Christmas spirit! Think backpacks full of water, a picnic blanket and a packed lunch or treat yourself to some yummy eats whilst in town. Either way, you’re going to have a great afternoon!
This year a new charity partner has been announced with funds collected at the 2016 parade going to The Salvation Army to provide much needed support for families during the challenging Christmas period. Last year we had Elmo (Nixon’s favourite!), this year parade highlights include three Angry Birds helium inflatables from Canada, Disney’s Mickey and Minnie inflatables, an Olympics float, LEGO character Clay from Nexo Knights, Austin Powers and a Cinderella float – it’s going to be amazing!
The party doesn’t stop there, if you’re keen for more festive fun, swing by Aotea Square for Santa’s after party starting at 2:30 pm and featuring a continuous stage show as well as rides, celebrities, face painting and a spectacular LEGO Christmas Tree. Santa will be on hand too for those that just need more of the Jolly old Soul!
We’ll be there with bells on – probably literally!