Durant Main Street Christmas tree lighting took place Tuesday night just before the Durant Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Christmas parade.
Stephanie Gardner, Durant Main Street Director coordinated the 2nd annual event for families at Market Square.
The special surprise guest was a Durant first. None other than The Grinch himself, in his green luster, showed up ready to greet the children.
He’s known for trying to spoil Christmas, just like Scrooge did in classic literature.
The Dr. Seuss character’s appearance was a big success as families lined up to take photos with the green troublemaker.
He was on his best behavior though at Market Square and put huge smiles on most kids faces as they posed for photographs for their parents.
Gardner said, “Most all the kids loved The Grinch. There was a few who cried though.”
Once they saw The Grinch making the other kids happy, those tears quickly became smiles.
Lilli’s Mexican Taco Truck was on location with food. Hot Shots Coffee served warm beverages to warm the crowd.
Gardner said, “We had carolers from The River church. They sounded really great. They have a special Christmas program next weekend at the church.”
The Gospel According to Scrooge will be presented Friday December 15 at 7pm and Saturday December 16, matinee at 2pm and evening performance at 6pm. Childcare provided for infants to 5 years old.
Church members dressed in period costume, later told parade goers about the performance.
Over 100 children decorated ornaments before the tree lighting.
Gardner said, “Those ornaments were placed on the tree and will remain there throughout this Christmas season. Some parents wanted to keep the ornaments as a keepsake. If weather or some unforeseen event allows, after Christmas we will collect them. Parents can then pick them up at the Durant Main Street office on 2nd street.”
With three weeks until Christmas, Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather will be the deciding factor with those ornaments.
Gardner said, “We will save them for the parents as long as the wind hasn’t blown them off and away.”
“A Magnolia Christmas” was the theme in this year’s Chamber of Commerce 2nd annual parade because Durant is known as the “City of Magnolias.”
The Chamber wanted parade entries to reflect Durant’s colorful history or the Magnolia itself.
It’s not known exactly how many Christmas parades have traveled Main street.
There are many great grandparents living who remember watching the parade when they were kids.
The paraders readied their bright colors of Christmas and their displays near where the parade started at Main and 12th street .
Bands, decorated vehicles, floats and people walking proceeded east on Main turning north on 1st.
The Durant Chamber’s Katie Quinn said, “We had a great turnout for the parade. We had lots of registrations this year. One organization registered could have multiple walkers or vehicles in the parade.”
One official was heard saying they counted over 125 entries. The parade lasted a long hour and twenty minutes with very small gaps in between each moving display.
It wasn’t the all time longest, biggest parade, but was possibly the longest in recent memory.
The prized Durant Chamber of Commerce Winner’s Certificates awarded the day after the parade ensured people put their best decorating foot forward.
This year for safety of the children, Candy Stations we located along Main Street.
Paraders were asked not to throw candy. There was concern with many of the vehicles high in the air, that enthusiastic children running in the street to get candy, might be hurt.
Chamber officials were said to have had those concerns for the children’s safety and chose to change that part of the parade before someone was hurt.
They said everyone having fun, being safe and celebrating Christmas safely was the priority.
Parents comments on social media reflected that decision was a welcome change for their children’s safety.
The hour and twenty minute parade went off without a hitch.
The evening wind cooperated after a windy, blustery day.
Children, their parents and everyone watching didn’t notice the cold drop in temperature as colorful floats whisked by.
Kris Kringle himself rode the fire truck with his Mrs. Claus seated beside him.
Children waved and many yelled “Hi Santa” as the Christmas couple rode away.
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or email@example.com