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Christmas letdown

Parade shifting away from Queen St

This year’s Masterton Christmas parade will be held on Dixon St. PHOTO/FILE

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In a break from decades of tradition, there won’t be a Christmas parade on Masterton’s Queen St this year.

Instead, it will take place down Dixon St, a shift which Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said lined the parade up with the council’s Christmas activities at Queen Elizabeth Park’s island.

The parade on Saturday, December 19, would also start at 4pm this year, whereas previous parades had started at 12.30pm, a council spokesman confirmed on Monday.

All of which has left some owners of Queen St businesses flabbergasted – they only learned about the changes when the Times-Age asked them for comment on Monday.

Angie Moon of the Embroidery Shop said the decision to move to Dixon St was “really ridiculous” and Deb Graham-Karaitiana, owner of Milady Fashion, said she “hated the idea”.

Moon said her store got busy before the parade in previous years, adding she had a friend with a bad leg who would take a seat in front of her store to watch the parade each year.

Graham-Karaitiana said the change would not bring people to her business. Like Moon, she enjoyed watching the parade and thought it should remain “in town”.

Dixon St did not have the retail stores that benefited from the parade, Graham-Karaitiana said.

Further along Queen St, cafe workers Olivia Sala and Zavier Boyles were also surprised by the changes.

Boyles participated in the parades as a member of the Wairarapa Fern and Thistle Pipe Band, before he moved to a different band.

Sala and Boyles said they had not heard any customers talking about the parade this year.

Sala said that in years past, “we would get slammed” after the parade.

A kitchen worker at the cafe agreed that the move to Dixon St could badly affect their business.

Council spokesman Steve Rendle said that the organisation of year’s parade was “community-led”, with the council in an “assisting role”.

According to a Facebook event post, hosted by the council, MY Masterton, and Mediaworks Wairarapa, “Masterton’s Magical Christmas Parade” starts at Bannister St this year and moves down Dixon St to Memorial Dr.

The Queen St route of previous years was about 900m long. The Dixon St route would cut the length of the parade down to about 650m.

On Friday, December 18, the night before the main event, Queen Elizabeth Park would be the venue for a “Santa’s Workshop”, and Christmas Carols.

Rendle described the prelude to the parade as a “casual night where the community will be encouraged to bring a picnic blanket and dinner”.

After the parade on Saturday, Christmas activities would take place on the island in Queen Elizabeth Park’s Lake of Remembrance.

Rendle said these activities included the miniature train, cookie decorating, face painting, and a story booth. Street performers and live music would also feature in the line-up, with food stalls and vendors operating.

The late start to the Masterton Christmas Parade is at odds with its Carterton counterpart.

The Carterton Rotary Christmas Parade will be held later this month with a start time of 11am.

Moon said she would probably still attend the event this year, but the late start time meant that her business would not see any benefit.

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