Santa Claus is Coming to Town

3 November 2009

The Christmas countdown has begun and this year's Tip Top Santa Parade - on Sunday 15 November - will help Wellingtonians get into the festive spirit.

The parade starts at 2.00pm on the corner of Lambton Quay and Ballance Street. It will then travel down Lambton Quay to Willis Street, before moving on to Wakefield Street and finishing up at Cuba Street.

Tens of thousands of Wellingtonians are expected to line the parade route to watch Santa and his reindeer, as well as other crowd favourites such as Snoopy and the Red Baron. There will also be a range of colourful floats with children's characters including Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Alvin and the Chipmunks and a special appearance from Weta Workshop creations The Wot Wots.

The Popsicle After Party will be held in Civic Square following the parade - so join Santa and enjoy live entertainment from Batucada, Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Tip Top Popsicle Band.

Wellington City Council Events Co-ordinator Lauren Fantham says the parade is a great way for the city to welcome in the festive season. "The parade is always a fun-filled family occasion and the first major event in the countdown to Christmas."

There will be a number of road closures and temporary parking restrictions in the central city on the day. Parade spectators are encouraged to use public transport to avoid traffic delays and congestion - for bus and train information visit Metlink's website or call them on 0800 801 700.

In the event of bad weather, the parade will be rescheduled for Sunday 22 November. This will be announced on Newstalk ZB at 9.00am on Sunday 15 November or you can call the Wellington City Council information line on (04) 499 4444.

Christmas is a time for giving and a collection will be held during the parade for Wellington Children's Hospital, led by "Hospi" the hospital lion. Proceeds will go towards the Wellington Children's Hospital make-over appeal.

The parade is one of Wellington's oldest events, dating back to the 1960s when it was called the James Smith Parade. The parade is organised by the Council and Tip Top is the naming rights sponsor. The parade is also sponsored on an on-going basis by The Dominion Post and The Radio Network.