Heading to the Auckland Santa Parade this weekend? Here's everything you need to know

Publish Date
Friday, 24 November 2023, 9:58AM
Auckland's Santa Parade is back with a huge international star set to be a part of the festivities. Photo / Topic - Hannah Rolfe

Auckland's Santa Parade is back with a huge international star set to be a part of the festivities. Photo / Topic - Hannah Rolfe

The Christmas season is officially upon us and even though Santa’s schedule is jam-packed with making lists and checking them twice, his head elf has found a gap in the chaos to ensure Father Christmas can make all the kids smile at Auckland’s Santa Parade.

Taking place on Sunday, November 26 at 1pm, the annual event has become a cherished holiday tradition — even more so than buying a box of Scorched Almonds “just in case” you forgot a present for someone, so, what will this year bring? Even more festive fun than the last few, it seems.

With a performance from the iconic children’s entertainer Emma Memma to breathtaking floats, marching bands and impressive performers, it’s going to be a truly magical affair - especially if the weather holds up.

Santas Workshop float will return in this year's parade. Photo / Topic - Hannah Rolfe

So, if you’re putting on your festive red and white hat and heading along, here’s what you need to know:

When does it start?

The official parade doesn’t begin until 1pm but like any good event, there is a pre-party your little ones will no doubt love to be a part of.

Festivities kick off at 12pm for pre-parade activity, then at 1pm on the dot, Santa will start to make his way through the streets of Auckland along with 4000 participants, performers and volunteers. The parade is scheduled to conclude at 2.30pm, but the fun is only just beginning.

Santa’s Party runs until 5pm and will include an appearance from Emma Memma as well as performances from plenty of incredible dance group performers.

This year's Santa Parade will include over 4000 participants. Photo / Topic - Hannah Rolfe

Parking and transport

Like all big events in Auckland, it’s recommended you bus, train, cycle or ferry into the city centre to save any unneeded vehicle congestion, however, if that isn’t possible for you, Auckland Transport is offering free parking at the Downtown and Victoria Street carparks.

To access the free parking, vehicles must be parked before 11am and exit between the hours of 2pm and 6pm.

If you are travelling by bus, train, bike or a combination of all three, Auckland Transport recommends travelling into the city before 11am and suggests planning your journey on the AT journey planner to ensure you have enough time as there will be multiple road closures.

Stars of the show

Emma "Emma Memma" Watkins is ready to hang out with her young fans again. Photo / Hayden Woodward

We all know Santa, his reindeer and elves are the real stars of this parade, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t organised some festive friends to join him.

Leading the march down Auckland’s Queen Street as Grand Marshal, is the one and only Warriors star, Shaun Johnson, who will be joined by The Hits stars Ben Boyce and Megan Papas, as well as our very own Toni Street throughout the day.

For floats, Parade alums will see all their favourites like Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse inflatables, the Unicorn Princess Float and the GMA Fire Truck, as well as many more festive floats like Elf on the Shelf, the Christmas Train, North Pole Express, Santa’s Workshop and many more.

Along with the thousands of people participating in the event, your little ones will be pleased to know former Wiggle Emma Memma will be making a very special appearance at Santa’s Party around 3.05pm before Catboy, Owlette and Gekko from PJ Masks take the stage at 3.15pm.

Parade-goers will also have the chance to see Kiwi dance performers from Neverland Studios, who are scheduled to take the stage at 3.45pm.

What to bring

The Farmers Santa Parade 2017, in Auckland's inner city. Photo / Hannah Rolfe

With the weather anticipated to reach a summery 20 degrees with little chance of rain, there are three essentials all attendees should have in their day pack: sunblock, a sunhat and water.

While there will be food and drink available to purchase at the pre-show and Santa’s Party, huge crowds mean they won’t be quick - or necessarily easy - to get to, so it’s best to come prepared.

Other items you may like to bring include snacks, sunglasses and anything else you and your children may require.

Postponement date

If the Parade is postponed because of bad weather, an announcement will be made on the Parade website and Facebook page at 8am on Parade Day.

This article was first published by the NZ Herald by Lillie Rohan and is republished here with permission.

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