Next week's monthly downtown block party is going to be extra special, as the evening officially opens Shawnee's holiday season with the annual Christmas tree-lighting event.

Next week's monthly downtown block party is going to be extra special, as the evening officially opens Shawnee's holiday season with the annual Christmas tree-lighting event.

Choirs and entertainers will get residents in the mood to usher in the holidays Friday, Nov. 15, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Celebration of Life Park on the 300 block of Main Street — directly south of the public library.

At the park, several elementary schools and area performers are set to entertain residents as downtown merchants, food trucks and mobile vendors offer their wares.

Free stage coach and carousel rides also will be among the featured attractions. The carousel will be set along Pennsylvania Street.

Between 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Shawnee Elementary and High School Choirs will perform, as will Kailin Gregg and Jennifer James.

The main event, the tree lighting ceremony, will be from 8:15 to 8:30 p.m.

After the tree is lit, Shawnee's middle school choir will offer a performance.

Christmas Parade

Safe Events For Families (SEFF) member Ed Bolt said the annual Christmas parade is set to get started around 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5. SEFF has chosen a Winter Wonderland theme for floats and entrants for the event this year.

As usual, the parade will travel along Main Street from Beard to Minnesota, and six stages and performers will line the route so attendees can spread out and see the attractions better, Bolt said.

Performers will entertain the crowd, starting at 6 p.m. until the parade reaches each of the six stages along the route on Main.

In a twist from tradition, a new attraction is set to actually occur after Santa has made his appearance at the end of the parade. Once the floats are off the route, residents will be encouraged to stick round and gather onto Main Street to watch a music-backed fireworks display.

SEFF's Ed Bolt said the production should be a fun addition to the event.

ARC Pyrotechnics Inc. (API) is going to put on the show, he said.

“The new tech they use can't catch stuff on fire,” he added.

According to the company's website, at arcpyro.com, API's close proximity and indoor product puts off little to no smoke and requires virtually zero safety distance.

These features allow API to create stunning visual effects without worrying about smoking out the audience, the site reads.

Some of its clients are the Oklahoma City Ballet, the Oklahoma State University Athletics Department and Kingfisher's Christmas parade last year.