Santa locks in date

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Southland Christmas Parade Charitable Trust treasurer John Green and parade manager Alice Pottinger look at costumes for the upcoming event.

THE date is set and planning well under way for the much-anticipated Southland Christmas Parade.

“We have started and the momentum is building for another great year… and we have put in a request for sunshine this year,” parade manager Alice Pottinger said.

This is Mrs Pottinger’s fourth year organising the parade.

“It is a humongous job… but it is fun and it needs doing. It brings the community closer
together. It is great for Invercargill,” she said.

“If you can offer a snippet of something and see a smile on a little kid’s face, it’s cool.”

H & J Smith chief executive John Green is one of the founding trustees of the Southland Christmas Parade Charitable Trust, which has run the annual parade in Invercargill since its inception in 1999. The other founding members are Warwick Cambridge and Fred
Tulett.

When Mr Green moved to Invercargill the city did not have a Christmas parade, so he
and the other trustees decided to create one, he said.

What started as a Christmas parade with nine full-size floats is now 18 years later a parade of 20 floats with another 40 entries including bands and community groups.

“About 20,000 people came to watch the parade last year, which is about a quarter of the
province’s population, which is really positive,” Mr Green said.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved.”

The trust had worked hard to ensure the parade focused on children as opposed to becoming overly commercialised, he said.

“Fantasy first, commercial second.”

The organisers are now taking entries for the parade.

Mrs Pottinger said they were also looking for two groups to put on street performances along the parade route.The organisers were also running a competition for preschools and primary schools to decorate a shopping trolley for the parade.

The major sponsors of the Southland Christmas Parade include the Community Trust of Southland, Invercargill Licensing Trust and the Invercargill City Council.

2017 Southland Christmas Parade, Saturday, December 2, from 2pm, travelling along Gala, Dee, Tay and Kelvin Sts, Invercargill.

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