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The Shawnee News-Star
  • 'Winter Wonderland' parade brightens downtown Shawnee

  • On what was a magical, yet not quite as cold December night, downtown Shawnee turned into a Winter Wonderland for the annual Downtown Shawnee Christmas Parade.
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  • On what was a magical, yet not quite as cold December night, downtown Shawnee turned into a Winter Wonderland for the annual Downtown Shawnee Christmas Parade.
    With temperatures in the 50s, it appeared that more spectators lined up along Main Street.
    Justin Erickson, a member of the parade committee, said it appears this year's great weather drew a larger crowd as lines of spectators seemed to drift further east along Main Street.
    "There was a bigger turnout," he said.
    With parade floats of all kinds, judges determined winners in three areas — Best in Show, Best Use of Lights and Best Use of Theme. This year's theme was "Winter Wonderland."
    Taking first placed for Best in Show was the Charlie Brown Christmas-themed float of Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh. COJC is a medium-secure institution for delinquents and youthful offenders and this was the first time COJC has entered a float in the parade.
    "We are always looking for ways to expose the kids to
    positive, community-oriented activities that they typically have not had the opportunity to participate in, said Jerry Fry, superintendent of COJC. "This experience surpassed our
    expectations."
    The residents and staff designed and built their float with the Peanuts gang enjoying a winter wonderland while skating on a frozen pond as snowflakes blanket the landscape, complete with the scrawny Charlie Brown Christmas tree, Snoopy and his doghouse, and Linus reciting the true meaning of Christmas, Fry said.
    Runner-up for Best in Show was Payless Tree Service.
    Payless Tree Service, with a series of floats and vehicles, also took first place honors for Best Use of Lights and Best Use of Theme.
    Runner-up for Best Use of Lights was the float of Gordon Cooper Technology Center, while the float of Pottawatomie County 4-H was named runner-up for Best Use of Theme.
    For Ken and Rita Vaughn of Shawnee, attending the parade is part of their annual holiday tradition.
    "It's good as usual — there's nice, big floats," Ken Vaughn said.
    "We've always made a point of coming every year," Rita Vaughn added.
    Both said they were enjoying the warmer weather this year.
    "It's not as cold," she added.
    Teresa Coe brought her 3-year-old granddaughter, Makayla, who was fascinated by the bright Christmas lights and glow wands.
    "It's nice," Coe said about the annual parade.
    Erickson said the parade ran smoothly with the exception of a small musical glitch for the Stompin' Sensations Studio as they approached the grandstand area for their performance. The glitch involved the music for their dance number, he said, but the group improvised and did a fantastic job.
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