A record number of floats and the biggest crowd in memory made the Carterton Christmas Parade on Saturday a huge success. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

People of all ages were packed along Carterton’s High Street for the Christmas Parade on Saturday, which was a record breaker.

There were at least 34 floats, more than double last year’s 15, and a record, said organiser Pam Robinson.

Around 300 people were in the parade itself before you even counted the two marching teams and the brass and pipe bands from Masterton.

Robinson said she hitched a ride in a police car and they discussed the crowd size, which the police officer estimated as in the thousands, the biggest he had seen. People were standing four-deep along many parts of the parade route.

“It really exceeded all expectations this year,” Robinson said. “It was brilliant.

“There were a lot of young kids, little kids, which was really nice to see.”

There were plenty of children on floats entered in the schools and pre-schools section of the float competition, which was won by South End School. The children from South End had orange painted faces with vibrant yellow or white collars made of fabric netting.

It was a traditional parade enjoyed by all and organisers weren’t wanting to comment on the controversies that dogged the Auckland Santa parade organisers.

Carterton’s parade had substantial scale and won plaudits for the community spirit and participation it prompted.

It took about 45 minutes for the parade to go by.

The business section sponsored by Wairarapa Times-Age and More FM was won by South Wairarapa Auto, and the non-business section was won by IDEA Services, the former IHC.

A new section for floats entered by neighbours and families was incredible, Robinson said.

The Carrington Drive float featuring letters to Santa was the unanimous judges choice.

All ages took part in the parade. Senior citizens were in the crowd, some sitting in wheel chairs and dressed in Christmas gear, and on floats from aged-care homes in the town.

The competition to dress windows in the town, was won by the Salvation Army.

The Harlequin Theatre group took part on a float dressed in Vicar of Dibley costumes.

There were big fancy new tractors and some very old ones, classic and fancy cars and lots of elves.

Santa was his usual jovial self on the last float on a sleigh, wearing sunglasses.