Despite some claims that numbers were down on previous years, from the section of Riccarton Road I saw outside the mall (which incidentally seems to be one of the better vantage points that I've found so far), there were still quite a lot of people around.
Certainly the weather was a bit of a mixed bag - it was slightly chilly, though the sun did come out prior to the start of proceedings. Then again, a few years ago, it started raining in the middle of the parade!
It's always nice seeing the crowd favourites again as they make their way down the streets for their day of glory each year. However, it also has to be said that the parade has become a bit "staid" and "fixed" in its ways, with the proceedings taking much the same order every year these days. As has been noted in places, the event these days seems to be lacking a bit of the "christmas-ness" and also some of the atmosphere of the parades of old. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly it is: maybe it's the change of venue since the quakes, or maybe the lack of any significant new floats (tellingly, apart from some of the vehicles brought in by the airport, fireservice, and St John, almost all of the "newest" entries were all items that I remember seeing being introduced when I was 7-9 years old), while Santa's sleigh looks like it could use a bit of a spruce up IMO. In short, perhaps you could call it the "x-factor".
That said, here are some shots of the attractions during the parade this year.
The singing pavillion(I just noticed that they seem to quite a few new things on it this year... funny that, they weren't that apparent)
Ye ol' Golden Arches - One of the most festive looking things around...
The tug boat
(I didn't get shots of the vintage steam-tractor thing this year; That said, it's loud, distinctive, and joyful toooot-tooooooot's were quite an irresistible drawcard even from miles away. Definite crowd favourite, even if it might be a bit scary/loud for kids actually nearby watching the parade when it blows)
A modern one decked out in some festive decor
The vintage AMI one - Always a happy sight
Vintage St John Ambulances, leading the parade of ambulances new and old
Airport Fire TruckOne of the newer attractions at the parade, but also a crowd pleaser, as it's one of the few times you'll generally to see one in action (it has 2 water-spraying heads, with one of them able to move freely to spray water in any direction). While you usually wouldn't hope to see one in action (for obvious reasons - it would still be a relief to see it I guess though...), this is one of the times when that's an exception!
Special mention must be made of the Japanese drumming group. I love seeing them in action (and trying to photograph them too!) So lively and enthusiastic! Their white-rabbit mascot (or something like that, I'm assuming) is also quite neat.