A staple in the south Auckland Christmas calendar is going bigger and better than years before.
This year’s Papatoetoe Santa Parade on December 13 will not only include an extended route but wrap up the festivities with a free-for-all party in the New World carpark.
Complete with food stalls, bouncy castles, and live entertainment, it’s a way of bringing more people to the community and celebrating with the thousands of attendees on the night.
Kolmar GAS service station’s Albert and Jess Lim, along with Papatoetoe Town Centre manager Rana Judge, are behind the event for the second year in a row.
They introduced the extended route last year to incorporate Old Papatoetoe, with the aim of the event to see plenty of smiles from children when the big, jolly man arrives.
“The main thing is to make sure kids enjoy the Christmas spirit,” Albert Lim says.
“Usually a lot of people want to hang around and take photos with the floats. We figured while we have a lot of people here they can enjoy some entertainment,” Judge says.
The event is funded by the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board and Judge and the Lims want everyone in their diverse community to feel welcome.
“It doesn’t matter what religion you are, that’s why it’s called the Santa Parade,” Jess Lim says.
On the other side of the motorway in Ōtara, Judge is preparing another carpark for an evening of festivities.
Organised by Fia Collins, married to Manukau Councillor Efeso Collins, Christmas in the Carpark is returning on December 9, complete with rock climbing and bouncy castles.
While attendance at last year’s event was dampened by bad weather, Judge says he’s hopeful for a good turnout this year.
The event, also funded by the local board, normally attracts up to 8000 people, and is the suburb’s answer to a parade.
“We can’t block our main road, East Tamaki Rd, because it’s a bus route so rather than interrupt traffic we’d have our event in a carpark,” he says.
Papatoetoe Santa Parade is on December 13 and starts at 7pm. The route starts on St George St, turns left onto Kolmar Rd and runs all the way to Great South Rd; the floats will turn right and head back down to St George St for the party at about 8.30pm.
Ōtara Christmas Carpark is from 4pm on December 9 in the carpark next to Ōtara Town Centre on Bairds Rd.