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Holiday River Parade to kick off Christmas season


Special to the City Sentinel


The eighth annual Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade will take place on Friday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. on the Oklahoma River.


The parade is billed as Oklahoma City’s largest, free, family holiday event and includes a parade of boats, a visit by Santa and a spectacular fireworks show.


The event attracts up to 30,000 people annually to the shoreline of the Oklahoma River. It 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 the MAPS 1 projects.


Thanks to the City and the Oklahoma City business community, 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. “I wish to invite the community to join us for the parade this year, and we 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 approximately 6 p.m.


The parade begins at the “Boathouse District,” travels west along the north shoreline of the Oklahoma River to Wiley Post Park, then returns to the Boathouse District.


This year, those gathered 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.


Entertainment for spectators in Wiley Post Park will begin at 6:00 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 year’s Grand Marshal. 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 Marshall and his volunteers.  His award-winning entries have included Snoopy & the Red Barron and Santa’s sled.


Marshall is also involved with producing the annual OKC Boat Show at the fairgrounds 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 over $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 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 for the parade and the entry form can be found on the event’s website. Corporate and individual sponsorships for the Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade are available.


For sponsorship or event information, contact the event chairman Mike McAuliffe at (405) 231-0912 or visit


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