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The festive season is just around the corner and this year’s Tip Top Santa Parade is here to help get Wellington into the spirit of the holidays. The parade starts at 2.00pm on Sunday 16 November at the corner of Lambton Quay and Ballance Street. It will travel down Lambton Quay on to Willis Street, before moving on to Wakefield Street and ending in Cuba Street.
The parade is one of Wellington's oldest events, dating back to the 1960s when it was called the James Smith Parade. The parade is organised by the Council and this year Tip Top is welcomed on board as the new naming rights sponsor. The parade is also sponsored on an ongoing basis by The Dominion Post, the New Zealand Community Trust and The Radio Network.
Tens of thousands of Wellingtonians are expected to line the parade route to watch Santa and his helpers - including six brand new reindeer led by red-nosed Rudolph - wind their way through the central city. Wellington Lions mascot Leo the Lion will be the parade's Grand Marshal. There will also be a range of colourful floats with children's characters including Kung Fu Panda and Mumble the Penguin. The Tip Top Hocus Pocus Dragon Float and the Tip Top Goody Goody Gum Drops Treasure Island Float will also feature in the parade and are sure to be a big hit with local children.
This year, for the first time ever, a Parade After Party has been organised, featuring live entertainment from the Tip Top Popsicle Band, Batucada and The Plops. The After Party kicks off at 3.00pm in Civic Square.
Wellington City Council Events Co-ordinator Lauren Fantham says the parade is a great way for the city to welcome in the festive season. "The parade is always a fun-filled family occasion and this year will be better than ever. Children will enjoy seeing Santa and his reindeer whereas those a little older will get another chance to see the Ranfurly Shield being paraded through the city."
Christmas is a time for giving and a collection will be held during the parade for Friends of Children in Hospital. Friends of Children in Hospital are a group of parents, health professionals and members of the public who support the work of caring for hospitalised kids – providing comforts like toys, DVDs, videos and subsidised tea and coffee.
There will be a number of road closures and temporary parking restrictions in the central city on the day. Parade spectators are encouraged to use public transport to avoid traffic delays and congestion.
In the event of bad weather, the parade will be postponed until Sunday 23 November. If the parade does get postponed, details will be announced on NewstalkZB and in The Dominion Post.