TWAS the last day of spring when a crowd of about 20,000 merry-folk of Southland came together for the annual Southland Santa Parade in Invercargill.
Giant teddy bears, oompa loompas and, of course, Father Christmas, were among some of the 57 floats which took part in the festivities, with about 1500-2000 people taking part on Saturday afternoon.
Head elf Alice Pottinger said the parades got better each year. Having organised six of them, this year’s had possibly drawn the biggest crowd they had seen yet.
Sunny and calm, she said they were lucky the parade was not held the following day.
Ms Pottinger said it was a fantastic day but all involved were exhausted by the end of it. For now, it was time for a break until Easter, when preparations for the next parade got under way.
It was a diverse event, with many of Southland’s multicultural groups and councils taking part. Countries represented included Brazil, Colombia, Thailand and The Philippines.
Invercargill mum Shelley Dela Llana said she brought her two children every year, both of whom were dressed for the occasion in green and red up every year”.
Her son Ridley, 7, said he did not know what his favourite part of the parade was, but his sister Cascade, 3, said her favourite was Elsa from Frozen
The parade started at 2pm and lasted about an hour, travelling from the corner of Gala and Kelvin Sts, along Gala St and down Dee St to Tay St then back Kelvin St to where it all began.