It’s not yet November, but if you listen closely you may be able to hear sleigh-bells ringing, or that might just be a slight sigh from volunteers getting ready for the Downtown Shawnee Christmas Parade.


It’s not yet November, but if you listen closely you may be able to hear sleigh-bells ringing, or that might just be a slight sigh from volunteers getting ready for the Downtown Shawnee Christmas Parade.

“It’s really a volunteer effort and there’s a ton of work involved in the parade,” Parade Co-Chair Heidi Cantrell said. “It is the biggest family, free event in Shawnee and we are proud of that.”

Applications for parade entries officially open Nov. 1 but people are already inquiring about applications, Parade Co-Chair Justin Erickson said.

The parade is a 40-year Shawnee institution and there are around 95 floats in the parade, Cantrell said.

“I just couldn’t imagine a time without the parade here,” she said. “Everybody in Shawnee loves it so much.”

This year the theme of the parade is “A Story Book Christmas,” which organizers have left open to interpretation and only ask entrants to incorporate the theme the best way they can.

“It could be really awesome because you could do story theme, you can do book themes, you can do Christmas book themes,” Cantrell said.

Other than the theme, the co-chairs plan to stick with the traditional festivities for the parade.

“We like to keep tradition solid in the Christmas parade. It varies year-to-year depending on who the entrants are, of course, but it’s pretty traditional,” Cantrell said.

The parade can last up to two hours and approximately 2,000 people showed up last year, Cantrell said.

Entries, which include dancers, bands and a variety of floats, will start the parade at Beard and Main and will travel seven blocks east to Main and Pennsylvania, Cantrell said.

This year the grand marshal will be Oklahoma Speaker of the House and Shawnee native, Khris Steele.

Though it is a Shawnee city tradition, the parade would not be possible without the funding of White’s Ace Building Center, Sonic Corporation and Sips Downtown Kafé, Erickson said.

“[The parade] really wouldn’t be possible without sponsors,” Erickson said. “The longest standing sponsor is Buford White, with White’s Ace.”

The deadline for parade entry applications is Nov. 15. Entry forms are available on the city’s website and pick-up at the City Hall Annex at 222 N. Broadway. The city is also willing to mail or fax the forms, Erickson said.