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In the most pointed reminder yet that parents only have three weeks to fill the space beneath the tree in their lounge, Mr Claus and his crew marched down George St yesterday in Dunedin’s 19th annual Santa Parade.
Thousands lined George St, the Octagon and Princes St from Duke St to Moray Pl. Santa was joined by the usual suspects. And by usual, I mean the unusual posse of Thunderbirds, pipers, Highlanders, squirting seals, fairytale characters and even a "dabbing" dragon rider.
And, in a Christmas miracle, the heavy grey clouds which hung ominously over Dunedin throughout the hour-long procession came to nothing, with the odd spot of rain not enough to dampen spirits.
Dunedin City Council community events co-ordinator Marilyn Anderson said everyone seemed to be happy with the turnout and the quality of floats.
It was believed to be the biggest turnout to the parade in recent years. A total of 80 floats took part.
But everyone knows the real measure of the success of a Santa parade is in the reaction of children.
Children who buzzed to and fro across George St broke into dance as a band bellowed out Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.
The excitement reached fever pitch as the big man himself reached the Octagon.
Dunedin 6-year-old Lily Hilton summed up the feelings of the younger members of the crowd.
"Santa," she yelled, waving to Saint Nick.
"Santa. I love Santa. Santa. Santa. Santa."