It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but local communities are already getting ready for Christmas.
The city’s annual angel tree program is up and running again, giving groups and individuals a chance to buy gifts and clothes for kids and teens in need. The event is for families in Healdton, Ratliff City or Fox. Participants can sign up until December 6. Healdton Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator Amber Ford said families that qualify for Soonercare or SNAP will qualify for the tree.
“We’ve yet to turn anybody away,” Ford said. “I get right around 200 children every year.”
The trees will be located at the Healdton Family Center, the Healdton Tag Agency and Healdton First Bank. Applications for the program are available at the Chamber of Commerce or outside the building after hours. Local businesses and groups pick a child to shop for, then bring the gifts to Ford for distribution.
“On their application, they put down their hobbies, like art or music, and things they need,” Ford said. “We want to make sure these kids are warm and comfortable and have a toy that they’ll like and use.”
The city is also preparing for their annual Christmas parade, which is always held at night to show off brightly lit floats. Ford said this year’s theme is “Believe.”
The annual parade will start at dusk, around 6 or 6:30 p.m. on December 15, depending on the time of sundown. Parade entries can continue to join during the week of the parade. The parade route will begin on Fifth Street and continue to Plum Street. Floats will start lining up on Fifth Street at 5 p.m.
City Manager Sally Jantz and State Rep. Elect Tammy Townley will serve as float judges alongside a third, yet-unnamed judge. Ford said parade participation is free, and varies from year to year.
“Last year we had bad weather, and that (affected) it,” Ford said. “We always try to get more and it doesn’t cost anything to enter. It’s purely for the enjoyment of Christmas.”