This year, expect compact festivities, running Thursday 3 December to Sunday 6 December, rather than events being spread over a few weeks.
“We’re working smarter and creatively to bring impactful events full of holiday joys, respectful of budget constraints. We’ve got some activities lined up that everyone can be part of. One of these is the traditional Christmas Parade – we are excited to see the amazing floats and all the happy faces on the day,” Head of Events and Partnerships Tasha Paladin says.
Parade float registrations are open at the Palmerston North Christmas Parade website. Entry is free for the 60 spots available – get in quick to secure your participation on Sunday 6 December. Children aged 4 to 12 can be part of the parade, managed by Kairanga Lions, by entering a decorated bike. Entries should be registered on the parade website by the end of November. Parade day will also feature a pop-up playground in The Square from 1pm (parade starts 2pm), and the Red Cross market.
This year, Palmy gets “ice” in summer, with Ice Skate Tour bringing its rink to the city for four days, 3 to 6 December. The artificial environmentally-friendly rink looks just like natural ice and has nearly the same gliding capacity as natural ice. Tickets will be adults $10, students $8, and children $5, including skate hire.
A key festive component is the Palmy Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday 3 December, 6pm to 9pm. This year, the city will reflect sustainability by using a living Pohutukawa tree in Te Marae o Hine | The Square, on the clocktower lawn.
“Palmy’s previous tree has been used since 2008 and was expected to have a 10-year life span, so it has served us very well”, Paladin says. A Christmas Carnival, featuring entertainers Highly Flammable, will be held on the events lawn before the tree lights are switched on at 9pm. A karakia will precede the tree decoration.
The Christmas Concert is back on Saturday 5 December, 6pm to 9pm. If it’s wet, it will be held on Sunday 6 December at The Regent. Local community acts will fill the first hour, followed by Rodger Fox’s Big Band.
Mayor Grant Smith encourages business, clubs, societies, groups and the wider community to get behind a Very Palmy Christmas, especially contributing towards making the parade one to remember.
“We know 2020’s been a challenging year, but this has only strengthened our sense of community, which is the heart of the festive spirit. We definitely have reasons to celebrate, including how resilient and caring our city has proved to be. We are truly fortunate to be Palmy people.”