Christmas parade brings back sense of normalcy to city

·3 min read

Dec. 4—As the red sun dipped into the horizon, winter lights ignited Muskogee Avenue during the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade and Community Christmas Tree Lighting at Norris Park.

Members of the community rode in floats, which included the Tahlequah High School Color Guard, NSU Cheer, Downed Bikers Association, Henry Lee Doublehead Childhood Development Center, Tahlequah Drug Co., Tahlequah Sports League, Lakes Country Radio Station, Abundant Life Church, the Tahlequah Police Department, Grand Marshal, Bank of Cherokee County, Tahlequah Fire Department, Cherokee Nation Color Guard, and many others.

Many, including Gabrielle Perry, operations and events manager at TACC, were excited to feel a sense of normalcy.

"It feels really good to be back in the community and doing a normal Christmas parade," she said. "We are excited to get back to the way that we used to. We've had over 70 entries in the parade now."

She said many of the entries are businesses, nonprofits, and churches. The TACC selected Suzanne Myers of Century 21 Wright Real Estate to serve as grand marshal.

"Each float that enters is automatically entered into the judging portion. We will be selecting three entries for the best overall, Santa's choice, and the top scoring float," she said.

Perry was most excited to see the float from Tahlequah Drug Co., which was a replica of the Polar Express.

State Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah, makes a tradition of going to the Tahlequah Christmas Parade.

"One thing Tahlequah is known for is parades, and they are always good ones. Everybody is having a great evening. We all get excited for Santa Claus," he said.

Companies came out to offer treats to the community, including Angela Turney, of Servpro.

"We are out here having a good time supporting our community. We are serving hot chocolate for free," she said.

Melissa Robinson is an area mom who brought her 4-month-old son, Paul Dean, out for his first parade.

"There are 20 years between this one and the last one I had, so I did it every year then," she said.

Many in Tahlequah, like Dale Hutchins, come to the parade every year because it is a tradition, regardless of weather.

"I remember when it was snowing, raining, and below zero. I prefer this weather," he said as children ran around downtown in short sleeves and shorts.

Stephen Highers, Tahlequah Ward 3 city councilor, also remarked on the weather.

"I am watching the parade in short sleeves. It's a perfect night to come out and watch. It is always cold at the night of the Christmas parade," he said. "It is exciting to see people out and about and see the Christmas lights."

Musicians Amanda Harris and Amber Watson performed "Mary Did You Know" "Silent Night," and "Jingle Bells" at the Christmas tree lighting at Norris Park.

"I think it's awesome that we are doing this to bring the community together to light up the Christmas tree," said Watson.

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