Christmas spirit alive in Te Anau

The Key Playcentre's The Nutcracker-themed float at the Te Anau Santa Parade in 2018. Photo: Emma Phillips

FIORDLAND residents are busy decking the halls in preparation for the annual Te Anau Santa Parade this month.

The parade, on Saturday, December 12, would feature a variety of floats and displays created by community groups and businesses in the region.

Entering a float in the parade had become a tradition for families attending The Key Playcentre.

Co-president Emma Phillips said it was something the playcentre community looked forward to every year.

The rural playcentre, about 20 minutes out of Te Anau, placed first-equal in the community float category in 2014 – and it has taken home the coveted prize each year since.

“We all put a lot of effort in, the kids included, so it’s lovely to be rewarded for it,” Mrs Phillips said.

This year their creative team had changed slightly. Because of this Mrs Phillips said they were a bit nervous, but those involved would still be putting in their best efforts for this year’s parade.

She said they designed their float around a different theme each year. Last year was a Lego Christmas, while two years ago they based the float on The Nutcracker

“It’s nice to do something a little bit different each year.”

Working as a team was one of the things they enjoyed about taking part in the event.

“It’s pretty much all hands on deck really – literally a trailer deck too,” she said.

“All of the community comes together and plays their part.

“The kids get to see that as well and be involved which is really cool.”

The community event was initiated about 13 years ago by Leona McCracken, Cheryl Flynn, Carmel McDowall, and Linley and Sarah Hodgkinson.

Ms McCracken said she felt there was a need for something for families to do in Te Anau at Christmas. Planning for the parade began in September, so they didn’t have a lot of time to organise the event, she said. However, that wasn’t a deterrent.

“Someone told me I’d never be able to do it. [I thought to myself] you don’t tell me that [I] can’t.”

Ms McCracken said they approached businesses in the town for support, and they were inundated with products and cash donations.

“It snowballed from there.”

She said many businesses donated spot prizes, which they used to create mystery prizes for the chocolate wheel.

“It’s always been very well supported by the community, which is absolutely amazing.”

The event will begin with music, $2 rides, food, and market stalls at Lions Park from noon.

The parade will then start at 2pm, leaving from Mitre 10 and will travel down the main street to Lions Park, where entertainment and activities will continue until about 4pm.

Santa will also head to the park after the parade in his sleigh, and will be available for photos.short url linkNike Shoes