When Howick welcomes in Christmas, it doesn’t do it by halves and this coming festive season is no exception. It will be a tinsel-tinted spectacular.
Following on from Midnight Madness tomorrow which opens the Christmas shopping run, and the lighting of the tree on Stockade Hill, the Howick Santa Parade officially begins – as the song says – the most wonderful time of the year.
It will be the 66th edition of the Howick Santa Parade on Sunday, December 8 and it promises to be bigger and brighter than ever when Santa Claus arrives as the headline act of a colourful cast of thousands.
Howick Santa Parade is one of east Auckland’s major must-see events and it’s more than a street parade this year.
“We have entertainment on our main stage in Picton Street from 11am until the start of the parade at 2.30pm,” says chief elf and event manager Bo Burns, of the Howick Children’s Charitable Trust.
“Howick Santa Parade Day is all about showcasing the wonderfully-talented and dedicated people, groups, schools and organisations we have in east Auckland.
“There will be 60 groups in the parade and six entertainment performances on the stage from 11am, making it the biggest Christmas parade for participants, with thousands involved.”
Burns suggests families and friends make a day of it by taking in the exciting shows and enjoying the hospitality venues and carnival atmosphere throughout Howick Village.
The parading groups will assemble in Fencible Drive and adjacent car parks from 12.15pm before marching onto the route of Wellington Street, Picton Street and Cook Street.
“The 60 groups are a great cross-section of our east Auckland community and many feature the children and, for them, that’s what Christmas and the Howick Santa Parade is all about,” says Burns.
“I’m very proud that we’ve been able to assemble and organise a large and diverse parade cast for what will be a great day out as we welcome to Howick Santa and Mrs Claus and all their elves.
“We’re extremely grateful to all the participants, volunteers and sponsors,” she says.
Sponsors and facilitators of the Howick Santa Parade include the Howick Children’s Charitable Trust, Barfoot and Thompson, the Howick Local Board, Lion Foundation, the Howick Club, New World, Galbraiths Law plus many smaller donations and help from some supportive local businesses.