Santa takes the final ride on Queen Street

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Venkat Raman

After 86 years of smiles, bringing joy and laughter to millions of people, Santa took his last ride at the Farmers Santa Parade on Queen Street in Auckland on November 24, 2019.

Thousands of children were present at the Parade with their parents and elders, witnessing a grand spectacle of events.

It was sad to note that there would be no more of the annual event.

There were amazing new floats, Disney’s Mickey, Minnie and Donald Duck, PJ Masks Catboy, Gekko and Owelette, Transformers Optimus Prime, Police Horses and of course, the man himself, Santa.

The following is from our archives (dated November 17, 2018)

Auckland’s Santa Parade faces an uncertain future as the City’s event Agency withdraws funding past this year because of a new policy.

While next week’s 85th instalment of the annual parade will go ahead as planned, it is set to make a $100,000 operating loss without the help of eleventh hour financial aid.

Despite the support of several commercial sponsors and help from more than 1000 volunteers, it is the second year in a row that the Parade will run at a major deficit, having fallen short last year by $78,000.

Combination of factors

Farmers Santa Parade General Manager Pam Glaser said a combination of rising costs and diminishing support from some major sponsors had made it increasingly difficult to secure funding for the event which attracts around 100,000 spectators to downtown Auckland.

She said that while the Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust was still well supported by naming rights sponsor Farmers, the Parade organisers are frustrated to lose ATEED funding under the Agency’s new 2018-2025 Major Events Strategy.

ATEED’s General Manager of Destination Steve Armitage said that the renewed framework came as Auckland’s Mayor and Council  look for alternative revenue streams to reduce the dependency on ratepayers.

The Agency says the new strategy has been designed to deliver what Auckland needs under it’s long-term Destination AKL 2025 strategy which aims to grow tourism and the local economy in a sustainable way.

Santa Parade not fit

Armitage said the Farmers Santa Parade no longer fits.

“This is based on the fact that it is not a big driver of domestic tourism into Auckland, unlike the Chinese Lantern Festival and Diwali where we have a programme of activity which is sustained for a period, for Lantern, around a week.

“We are able to package up a whole lot of things that happen around the City and promote that and attract visitation.”


Photo Caption:

  1. After 86 years, Santa bids goodbye
  2. This year’s Parade was one of the most colourful
  3. Thousands at this year’s final Santa Parade

(Pictures Courtesy: Farmers Santa Parade)

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