By: Heather Pingry | Category: Other | Issue: October 2007
Ashley Hullinger volunteered as a parade marshal at a past Christmas Parade of Lights.
Organizers of the 2007 Public Service Company of Oklahoma Christmas Parade of Lights are seeking volunteers to serve as parade marshals. Parade marshals have the very important job of keeping the parade flowing seamlessly throughout the route ensuring no gaps form between entries. The annual parade will take place this year at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 8.
The annual PSO Parade of Lights is a beloved community event that attracts approximately 18,000 on-street spectators each year. In addition, over 100,000 viewers watch the parade on KTUL News Channel 8. Organizers are confident that this year’s parade will be one of the best.
Parade units represent a variety of local businesses and organizations and include bands, floats, giant helium balloons, dance squads, drill teams, clown groups, as well as animal and equestrian units. High school bands from the Tulsa area and from as far away as Missouri and Arkansas participate in the PSO Christmas Parade of Lights. Past specialty unit highlights include entries such as Express Personnel’s Clydesdales, Reasor’s giant grocery cart and the Shockwave Cloggers, a group that has previously won Star Search.
Year after year, local non-profit organizations and businesses create award-winning floats for the parade. Last year’s winners include: Garden Deva as most creative, Tulsa Public Schools for best use of lights and the Northeast Oklahoma Square Dance Association for best of show. The Tulsa Cerebral Palsy Association won the United Airlines Spirit Award.
“Thanks to our past parade marshals, we have been able to have a parade without gaps between units,” says Heather Pingry, director of promotions and communications for Downtown Tulsa Unlimited. “Marshals enable parade spectators to experience the same quality of parade whether they are near the beginning of the route or at the end.”
Approximately 70 to 80 groups participate in the PSO Christmas Parade of Lights each year. The duties of parade marshals on the day of the event include escorting two to three units along the two-mile parade route. Because their end goal is to eliminate gaps between units, volunteers will instruct their assigned units to either slow down or speed up in order to keep a constant flow during the parade. All volunteers will even be provided with plenty of hot chocolate, coffee, apple cider and Christmas cookies throughout the event.
Parade marshals must be at least 18 years old or in their senior year of high school. Volunteers will be needed for approximately four hours on the evening of the parade and are required to attend a training meeting beforehand. Participants may choose to attend one of two sessions offered: Monday, November 26, or Tuesday, November 27. Both training sessions will begin at 7 p.m. and will last no longer than an hour. Specific job descriptions and assignments will be distributed at this meeting, and refreshments will be provided.
Volunteering for the PSO Christmas Parade of Lights is a lot of fun, and it really gets people into the holiday spirit. Those who sign up are guaranteed to have a great time; proof rests in several volunteers who return to be parade marshals each year. Interested volunteers should call Downtown Tulsa Unlimited at (918) 583-2617 to sign up for a training meeting.