Area groups are planning their floats, decorations, and outfits to wear during upcoming Christmas parades.
The Tahlequah parade is Friday, Dec. 13, at 6:30 p.m., and the Hulbert one is Saturday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m.
Windows in downtown Tahlequah preview the "Holiday in Whoville" theme chosen for this year's parade.
"The Christmas parade is wonderful and it's great to see everyone get involved," said Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron. "It really brings the community together and promotes the spirit of the season for all to enjoy."
Chamber staff are encouraging those interested in participating in the parade to get their applications in soon. Each entity will pay a $50 deposit, as well as an entry fee of $15 until Wednesday, Dec. 4. Dec. 4-10, the fee will be $35.
"We've had tons of people coming in today," said Gabrielle Perry, TACC member engagement coordinator, on Monday morning. "The last I checked, we had over 40 entries."
Parade entry forms may be picked up at the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce, 123 E. Delaware St., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Registration and parade guidelines are available online under the events tab at www.tahlequahchamber.com.
No entries will be accepted after Tuesday, Dec. 10, as the mandatory safety meeting is set for that night at 6:15 in the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center. One representative from each entry must attend the meeting, and failure to attend will "result in a forfeiture of the safety deposit," according to the entry form.
The Tahlequah parade will feature a "silent zone" for audio-sensory individuals. Participants are asked not to play loud music, blow horns or sirens, or use flashing lights in this area.
"Last year, we implemented the silent zone at the end of the parade. However, this year, the silent zone has been placed at the beginning of the parade," said Cindy Morris, Chamber of Commerce president.
The parade begins on the Northeastern State University campus and travels south to downtown. The silent zone area will be from the University Center on Grand Avenue heading south to Goingsnake Street.
The Bill Willis Parking Lot on the NSU campus by the Town Branch Creek will be reserved parking for audio-sensory and handicap individuals.
Parking spaces on both sides of Muskogee Avenue from Goingsnake to Chickasaw streets will be closed beginning at 2 p.m. on parade day. All vehicles are required to move from the area by the time of closure.
Beginning at 4 p.m., the following streets will be closed: Crafton Street from North Grand Avenue to North Oklahoma Avenue. Callie Drive and Lewis Avenue, which intersect with Crafton Street, will also be closed, and NSU Drive will have no access during 3-8 p.m. Starting at 6 p.m. there will be no access to and from Grand Avenue to Leoser Street, Seminary Avenue, Berry Street, North Street, and Arden Street.
Muskogee Avenue and Grand Avenue from North Street to Chickasaw Street will close at 6:15 p.m., as will the intersecting streets: Chickasaw, Choctaw, Delaware, Downing, Goingsnake, Keetoowah, Morgan, Shawnee, and Spring. NSU students and employees will be notified by the NSU parking division about campus roads and parking lots that will be affected from 6:30-8 p.m.
In case of unsafe weather, the Tahlequah parade will be rescheduled to Monday, Dec. 16, but that decision will be made the evening of Thursday, Dec. 12.
The city of Hulbert will not reschedule its parade, regardless of weather.
"Rain, sleet, or snow, we're having it the second Saturday of every December," said Hulbert Police Chief Casey Rowe.
The theme for the Hulbert Christmas parade is "Deck the Halls," and Rowe suggests groups register by Thursday, Dec. 12.
Registration is available at townofhulbertok.gov, and there is no entry fee.
Trophies will be awarded to the top entries in the following categories: business, church, nonprofit, and school.
Organizers are asking that groups not have Santa Claus represented in their entries, as Jolly Old St. Nick will be riding at the end of the parade.
"We want to make the kids happy about seeing Santa. We don't want to confuse them," said Rowe.
Hulbert parade participants will line up on the shoulders of State Highway 51 near Dollar General to travel east to the Hulbert Schools Auditorium parking lot. Volunteers will be on site to direct traffic.
"The odd numbers will line up on the north side, and the even numbers on the south," said Rowe.
Detour signs will be set up, and westbound traffic will be rerouted at Subway to travel on College Avenue to Sixth Street to Highway 51.
"To make it easier and more fun, be careful and watch the children because it'll be dark," said Rowe, who oversees special projects for the city.
After the parade, community members are invited to the school auditorium for the annual drawing.
While the prizes are still coming in from local businesses and organizations, Rowe said there will be drawings for gift certificates and cash.
"This year, you go to the door and everybody gets one ticket each," he said. "If you are a parent with four kids, you will have five tickets. It's for all ages, even babies."
Rowe encourages folks to visit Hulbert any night this holiday season to check out the lights in the city park.
For more information or an entry form for the Hulbert Christmas parade, call 918-772-2165. To contact the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce, call 918-456-3741.