Elves, a dragon and all kinds of magical creatures took to George St yesterday as crowds gathered to watch the return of the Dunedin Santa Parade.
The annual event, held this year for the 24th time, was postponed last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Starting at the intersection of Regent and George Sts at 3pm, the parade travelled through the Octagon before finishing by First Church in Moray Pl.
As well as Santa and his reindeer, there was a wide range of floats and people on foot, and a tinsel-bedecked pipe band.
The magic of the event was especially poignant for Balclutha resident Shannon Rodwell.
She and her family were there to cheer on son Braxton (11), who was in Dunedin Hospital’s paediatric ward float.
Having undergone chemotherapy, it had been a difficult time for him, but he had been looking forward to the parade all week.
“He’s so excited — all dressed up in Santa stuff.
“It gives them something to be part of, because for a lot of these kids medical stuff is their whole life.”
It had also been a difficult year for many in the community due to the pandemic, she said.
It was great to see the crowd who had come to celebrate, and the effort that had gone into the floats was “phenomenal”, she said.
Dunedin’s Viliamu Malae (11) and his four siblings were among the onlookers who dressed for the occasion in an assortment of Santa hats and fake beards.
Red school jumpers stuffed with sofa cushions completed the look.
It was “exciting” to see the parade, he said.
As well as dressing up, he enjoyed watching the floats.
Dunedin parent Karen said she and her children went every year to see the parade.
The bagpipers were her favourite part, she said.
“It’s about Christmas spirit and community.
“It’s nice to see it back again.”