Now that Thanksgiving has wrapped up, it’s official; the Christmas season is here. Safe Event For Families (SEFF) will be out in full force Thursday, preparing for the Shawnee’s main winter celebration, the annual Christmas parade.

Now that Thanksgiving has wrapped up, it’s official; the Christmas season is here. Safe Event For Families (SEFF) will be out in full force Thursday, preparing for the Shawnee’s main winter celebration, the annual Christmas parade.

Residents can jumpstart their Christmas spirit on parade day by attending the annual “Cans Festival” downtown, where Jones Theatres will host a special 4:30 p.m. showing of the classic holiday film, “Home Alone,” at the Carmike Hornbeck & Penthouse Twin, 125 N. Bell St.

Admission for one person is a donation of two canned goods. Donations will be given to the Salvation Army.

 

Main event

The Parade of Lights presents “Christmas through the eyes of a child,” this year’s theme for Shawnee’s Christmas Parade, set for 7 p.m. Thursday.

Dell Kerbs, SEFF president, said there are some new additions to the parade this year.

A fireworks display will mark the start of the parade moving down the route.

Also, this year begins a new tradition of a Shawnee elementary school student being chosen to ride with Santa Claus –– the highlight of the parade.

There were five finalists chosen from an essay contest.

The four runner-up finalists will get to ride on the Grand Marshal float –– this year St. Gregory’s University holds the distinction of being Grand Marshal.

Another new item is a six-band lineup along the parade route.

Kerbs said the added entertainment –– beginning at 6 p.m. –– is an effort to help spread out the crowd, for easier viewing for everyone.

“There will be something fun all the way down the street,” he said.

Candy has made its way back into the parade schedule. Kerbs said the throwing of candy was taken out for a while because too many people were dodging out into the street in front of the floats to grab the treats.

“We will have barricades up to help with that,” Kerbs said.

He said Main Street will shut down around 5 p.m., when barricades will start going up.

“We can’t have any cars on those blocks during the parade. People can’t see,” he said. “Be aware, cars will be towed, if necessary.”

Several businesses and organizations put a lot of work into helping the parade be a success, Kerbs said.

“We got a lot of help from Vyve, Buford White, Jones Theatres, Visit Shawnee and Brown’s Towing, among others,” he said.

“We couldn’t do it without their help,” he said.

Kerbs said last year there were more than 100 entries in the parade.

Last year there were businesses, bands, dance troupes and antique cars, among others.

“We fully expect there to be even more this year.”

 

Back-up plan

Kerbs said, “Since you never know what kind of weather Oklahoma is going to serve you, we have a backup date lined up for Dec. 10, in case things get bad.

He said the quickest way to find out if the event has been postponed is through SEFF’s Facebook page. “A decision will be made on parade day –– no later than 11 a.m.,” Kerbs said.

For more information, visit seffshawnee.org.

 

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