Nov. 30—"A Country Christmas Parade" is the theme for this year's downtown Christmas parade — with plans for a special team to come to McAlester to help with the celebration.
McAlester Chamber of Commerce President Krystal Bess said Express Employment Professionals is the main sponsor of this year's event.
"They will be grand marshal of this year's parade, with their Express Clydesdales," Bess said. The team of Clydesdales, which often pull a stagecoach-like wagon, has participated in parades around the nation, including the 2020 Rose Parade.
This year's Country Christmas Parade is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, in downtown McAlester.
Bess thinks the Express Clydesdales will be a great addition to the annual parade, which was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. She hopes this year's theme will help bring that timeless feeling of Christmas to the parade's return.
"We wanted to bring back that feeling," Bess said.
"There have been a lot of people anxious to have it back again after last year not having one," she said of the Christmas parade.
Plans call for a window dressing contest in downtown McAlester, while the parade will include floats with the holiday theme. Bess said there have already been about 50 parade entries, but there is still time to enter.
"We will take entries until Monday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m.," she said. Entries can be made online at www.mcalester.org. Entry fees are free for nonprofits, including churches. It's $100 for businesses and $75 for schools, Bess said, with the $75 covering as many entries as a school wants to make.
Those who miss the Dec. 6 parade entry deadline can still participate; they will be placed at the back of the lineup, said Bess.
Plans call for the lineup to begin at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 in front of the Diamond Trophy Shop on A Street and then continue down the street.
Once the parade begins, it will head east down Carl Albert Parkway, then turn south at Fifth Street for a block before turning back west on Choctaw Avenue and heading to South Main Street.
Winning parade entries will be recognized. Bess said this year those who would like to be parade judge can enter by phoning the McAlester Area Chamber of Commerce a 918 423-2550.
"On Tuesday we'll select the judge's names," Bess said.
She said she's already seeing lots of enthusiasm for this year's event. Organizers are hoping lots of McAlester-area residents line the streets for the parade's return.
"We hope you come out," said Bess.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.