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A simple idea to keep children in Tapanui entertained at Christmas has evolved into a magical event as the Santa Parade prepares to appear in the town for the 64th year this Friday.
Tapanui Santa Parade organising committee member Barbara Hanna said the annual parade was intended to give the children in Tapanui something to do at Christmas.
The first organiser just got a bag and a Santa suit and gave out lollies on the main street. Then it was taken over by the local business association. It was now organised by a small sub-group part of Tapanui West Otago Promotions.
``It just happens. We don't know how many floats there are. It's just what turns up on the night.''
People could ring up and enter their floats. However, more often than not ``a lot more come than what we are expecting''.
One of the main organisers, Charlie Davis, had been involved for 25 years, but ``this is his last parade, he tells us''.
Mrs Hanna said she would be sorry to see Mr Davis go and the group ``greatly appreciated'' the time he had volunteered.
It was also the first time in a while that Santa Claus would have his real sleigh. For some years Santa had ridden on the back of a vintage car.
The sleigh had ``come out of hiding and it's going to be used again ... this year,'' Mrs Hanna said.
People could also expect to see a special performance from the Step Sisters Marching Group.
There will also be a musical performance, fancy dress competition and a barbecue.
It was traditionally held on Christmas Eve but this year would be on Friday at 7pm.