Santa’s little Wellsford helpers – back row, from left, Daniel Le Roux, Rodney Aggregates; Andrew Rumbles, Bayleys; Rachel Hodge, Wellsford Plus; Colin Smith, Rodney Local Board; Wiki Waru, Wharehine. Front row, Bayleys’ Di Scott and Julie Beaumont; Tania Hamilton of Wellsford Plus; and Denise Pearson of Mike Pero.
It might only be August, but in Wellsford thoughts are already turning to Christmas – the town’s annual Santa Parade has a new crew at the helm and they are busy trying to make this year’s event a standout occasion.
New head wrangler is Tania Hamilton of Wellsford Plus (formerly Wellsford Promotions), best known locally for devoting herself to saving and rejuvenating the Wellsford Plunket Rooms. Now, she is turning her formidable organisational and fundraising skills to give the Santa Parade a new lease of life.
She has already mustered a raft of local businesses to provide support and sponsorship for an increase in prize money and a new walking section, as well as signage, food, drink, coffee, a stage and children’s entertainment.
The 2019 parade will take place on Saturday, November 30, starting at the Wellsford Community Centre at 11.30am. It will make its way down to the railway station before returning to the community centre for prizegiving. There will be four float categories – Community, Commercial, Children’s and Walking. The winners in each category will receive $250, with $150 for second place and $100 for third, a budget boost that Tania hopes will provide more of an incentive for people to get involved and enter the parade.
There will also be displays by Wellsford Volunteer Fire Brigade and Wharehine trucks, music and entertainment, a coffee truck and sausage sizzle, plus visits from the McDonald’s Hamburglar and the Plunket Blue Bear characters.
Four large new signs created by ECM Signs to promote the parade will go up on roadside entrances to the town next month, and parade entries will be accepted until mid-November.
In the past, the Wellsford Santa Parade was one of the largest in the district, literally stopping traffic as it passed along State Highway 1, but it went into a bit of a lull when long-time organiser Tony Sowden retired from the role, and the event was moved away from the main street to Centennial Park. However, when Wellsford Plus based last year’s parade around the railway station and community centre, the event attracted a number of new floats and was a big hit with local families.
Info: Tania Hamilton on 021 264 0424