By Jeanne LeFlore
McALESTER — The McAlester Main Street 2011 Parade of Lights Christmas Parade made its way down Choctaw Avenue as Santa Clause came to town.The parade theme this year was Winter Wonderland and with more than 50 entries, the parade full of Christmas cheer.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Carl Albert and Choctaw Avenue as the parade jingle-belled it’s way past the judges while scores of children stood by as the participants passed out candy.
Kicking of the holiday season, Grand Marshal Colonel Timothy Beckner Commander rode by in MCAAP HumVee, McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak rode in a 1920 Ford T-Bucket Roadster and Mayor Kevin Priddle waved to the crowds from a 1922 Ford.
Kiowa residents Lyla Para and Kathy Young said the parade was exciting.“We are new to the area and we are really enjoying the parade,” Para said.
Shriners rode by on minature bicycles and a miniature diesel truck and Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns spread Christmas cheer from a Humvee as he rode by the crowds.
Christmas was in the air as Senator Richard Lerblance and his wife Frances handed out candy as they cruised down Carl Albert.
McAlester residents Karl and Kathy Scrifes were taking in the sights and sounds on Choctaw Avenue. “This year I’m not a judge so I get to just enjoy the show,” said Karl Scrifes.
As the MHS band played Christmas tunes the crowds seemed to sing and dance along.
Miss McAlester Alexis Banks spread holiday cheer as she waved to onlookers as she rode by.
But the grand finale was of course, Santa Claus. The crowds went wild as jolly old St. Nick went by high on top of his sleigh.
Judges for the parade were Bill O’Brien writer for the Edmund Sun, Gwen Walker historian, Traci Walker Atoka Main Street board president and Cindi Wallis curator of the Atoka County Museum.
“We are doing a judging exchange with other main street towns so local people can enjoy the parade,” said McAlester Main Street Director Carol Ervin.
Winners from last year rode in the parade including Sprocket Telephone, the Blue Star Mothers and Narconon.
Winners of the parade contest will be announced in Sunday’s edition of the McAlester News-Capital.
Contact Jeanne LeFlore at firstname.lastname@example.org.