From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade to cruise Friday night
Admission is free to the eighth annual event, which will include light-adorned boats, a visit from Santa and a fireworks show.
The eighth annual Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade will cruise at 6 p.m. Friday (today) on the Oklahoma River. The parade is one of Oklahoma City’s largest free family holiday events, including a parade of light-adorned boats, a visit from Santa and a fireworks show.
The Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade attracts 20,000 to 30,000 people annually to the shoreline of the Oklahoma River, according to a news release. The event has become a family tradition in Oklahoma City since the inaugural parade took place in 2004, officially opening the Oklahoma River and celebrating the completion of phase one of the MAPS projects.
Admission and parking for the event is free.
“Each year the river parade becomes bigger, better and brighter, and this year is no different,” said Ron Norick, Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority Chairman and former Oklahoma City mayor, in the release. “I wish to invite the community to join us for the parade this year, and thank our great sponsors for supporting this event year after year. It is a wonderful holiday gift to the community!”
The two major viewing areas for the river parade are the Boathouse District and Wiley Post Park. The viewing areas open at 4 p.m., with festivities beginning at about 6 p.m. The parade begins at the Boathouse District, travels west along the north shoreline of the Oklahoma River to Wiley Post Park and then returns to the Boathouse District.
This year, those gather along the shoreline in the Boathouse District will first see the parade of boats, a special visit from Santa and then the spectacular fireworks show. The spectators in Wiley Post Park will have entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. followed by the fireworks show, the parade of boats and a visit from Santa as the finale.
David Ecker, owner of David’s Sport Center, will serve as this years grand marshal. Ecker, his family, friends and employees have played a major role in the success of the past parades. Some of the more elaborate parade floats throughout the years were created by Ecker and his volunteers. His award-winning entries have included Snoopy and the Red Baron and Santa’s sled. He also is involved with producing the annual OKC Boat Show at the fairgrounds each year and is an active supporter of the Oklahoma City Boat Dealers Association.
Net proceeds from the Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade will benefit the Oklahoma River Foundation. The foundation was established in 2004 and is managed by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. The past seven Holiday River Parades have generated more than $600,000 for the Oklahoma River Foundation. The funds will be used for future improvements to the Oklahoma River and the 14-mile trail system.
The presenting sponsors for the Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade include BancFirst, Chesapeake Energy, Chickasaw Nation, City of Oklahoma City, E.L. & Thelma Gaylord Foundation and the OKC Riverfront Redevelopment Authority.
Anyone can enter a decorated boat in the parade; there is no entry fee. To find an entry form or more information, go to www.okcparade.com.