Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service constructed a white and blue “Frozen” themed float. Public event coordinator Andrea Earley, who rode the float dressed as Elsa, said they’ve used ambulances during previous parades, but wanted to do something more elaborate this year.
“The theme was ‘Magical Christmas’ and so we thought we’d do ‘Frozen,” Earley said.
The float took two days to build and about 21 hours total to decorate with white tulle, lights and blue and white Christmas trees.
“We wanted to start doing a float again because your ambulance service should be a part of your community and this is one way for us to give back,” Earley said. “We were trying to figure out something all the kids would like, and of course, we love the movie.”
Newcomers and familiar floats, each with their own story, crowded Broadway Street in preparation for the annual Parade of Lights.
Groups like Girls on the Run, Camp Fire and local businesses built large floats in preparation for the parade, while individuals decorated cars, buses and buggies with Christmas decorations and lights.
Bobby Phillips, owner of Dee Ramsey Air Conditioning, is a newcomer to the parade, as was his buggy decorated with Christmas lights.
“It gives you a chance to get out and play with your toys,” Phillips said. “I bought this basically as a basket case, and me and my son built it for his 16th birthday, and he’s 25 now.”
His friends, Brent and Stella Oxford, helped him decorate his float. Phillips said he helped Brent build his buggy last year.
“About two years ago, he rode with me in the other parade and said ‘when we get both buggies running, we’ll have them both in a parade, and now here I am,” Phillips said.
The Oxfords were just behind in the procession, advertising their business Big Ox Bulldogs on their buggy. Their English bulldog Jezebel came along for the ride as well.
“Every time someone revs their engine she’s like ‘ooh, what’s that?’ I think she’s ready to get moving,” Stella Oxford said. “We enjoy getting out here, showing off what we have, and it’s good for business.”
While most of the displays are meant to be as eye-catching as possible, others serve a different purpose entirely.
This marks Lee Stone’s fourth year participating in the parade. His decorated car serves as a memorial to his son, Chris Stone Rooks, who passed away in 2011.
“It’s something he’d always done with his car, and this is a way to keep his memory going,” Stone said.
The engine in the car Stone now drives in the parade every year came from his son’s car. Stone said continuing the tradition is a comfort to him and his family.
“My wife watches the parade, and my mother-in-law, and grandkids,” Stone said. “My granddaughter will be along in a little bit to ride with us, too.”