Santa Claus is back in his frosty homeland. Now Spanish children can get down to the serious business of welcoming the Three Kings, who will bring them gifts on January 5. If they have been good, that is. Like Santa, the Three Kings apper here, there and everywhere, seemingly at the same time, and yesterday Mayor Joan Fageda reminded everyone that Palma has a date with them on January 5. This year, the parade will feature more than 18 colourful floats, sponsored by local companies, three carriages filled with gifts, six groups of dancers and entertainers and five tons of sweets, the latter for throwing at the thousands of people who will be lining the streets. It will be opened by the three committees of the Kings, each with 25 persons, accompanied by three bands. The Kings, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar, are due to arrive by sea at 6.50pm at the “royal staircase” set up at the Moll Vell near La Lonja. After about ten minutes, during which time they greet the crowds, the parade will set off, going along Calles Antoni Maura, Conquistador, Palau Reial, Plaza Cort, Colon, San Miguel, Olmos, the Rambla, La Riera, Calle Union, Plaza Juan Carlos, Jaime III and the Paseo Majorca. The parade is based on two themes. One is the Old Testament and will feature scenes such as the cave in Bethlehem or the star which guided the Kings, while the other is based on popular characters such as the ogre Shrek or the Simpson family. Mayor Fageda described it as “one of the most eagerly awaited events, not just by children but adults, too.” And, he added, as a novelty there will be two giant video screens installed at the Moll Vell, or old quay where they will arrive and the Plaza Cort, the town hall square. The parade lasts for more than two hours. The Mayor said that he hoped the parade would attract an even biggger audience than last year, when it was watched by 150'000 persons - “half the population of the Balearic capital,” the Mayor said. For those who cannot make it, the entire parade will be broadcast live by the Catalan television station TV3. Miquel Puig, the director of the station, said that one of floats is inspired by characters from that station's Club Super 3, which has about 12'000 members in the Balearics. The station will be sending a team of 80 people with 15 cameras and two booms to cover the event, which also includes a fireworks display.

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