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Santa Parade To Lift Christchurch Christmas Spirit

Media Release for immediate use 5 December 2008

Santa Parade To Lift Christchurch Christmas Spirit

On Sunday 7 December Santa will take to the streets of Christchurch for the 61st time to lift the city’s spirits in the lead up to the festive season.

This year’s Santa Parade is likely to be bigger and better than previous years, with more than 135 groups participating in the parade, including many new ones.

Santa Parade principal sponsor Smiths City says the current economic climate makes this year’s event especially important.

“This is the fifth year we have sponsored the much loved parade. We are proud to have our name associated with such an established event in the city’s calendar. We acknowledge that times are particularly tough at the moment for many sectors of the community and that is why we feel it’s important to continue our support of this iconic event,” says Smiths City Marketing Manager Pete Dickie.

“The Santa Parade is a great family occasion which more than 120,000 people flock to each year. In 20 or 30 years time the children at this year’s parade will be bringing their kids along to enjoy the sights and sounds,” he says.

“Smiths City started out in Christchurch as a store for all of the family. These days we have more than 24 stores across the country. It makes perfect sense for us to get behind a local event that has been enjoyed by many for generations,” he adds.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says this city is lucky to have local businesses such as Smiths City supporting major events which benefit the whole community.

“The time and money Smiths City puts into ensuring the Santa Parade is a success is invaluable. Every year kids of all ages look forward to seeing Santa on top of his huge sleigh, ably supported by his reindeer. Without this kind of support, not to mention the enormous hours put in by volunteers, the event would simply not take place,” he says.

“During these tough economic times it is wonderful to have something fun and cheerful to brighten the mood in anticipation of Christmas,” he adds.

Each year Smiths City staff has a ‘hands-on’ involvement with the Santa Parade. Marketing Manager Pete Dickie is on the Santa Parade Trust and also plays an important role on the day.

“When we decided to support the Santa Parade, we wanted to have a hands on involvement rather than just writing out cheques. Many of our staff are involved in a variety of roles on the day to ensure it runs smoothly. In fact, I have the privilege of driving the first float in the parade - the Little Drummer Boy. It is the float which has led the parade for 60 years,” he says.

In all, Smiths City sponsors three floats; the Little Drummer Boy, the Fire Engine and the Old King Cole float.

Each year the Trust invests time and money into creating new characters to keep the event up-to-date for everyone who visits.

The parade starts at 2pm from the corner of Moorhouse Avenue and Colombo Street and ends at around 3.15pm in Kilmore Street, between Colombo and Durham Streets. The route is 1.6 kilometres long.


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