By John Filonow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
“It’s really cool, I like the lights,” said 9-year-old Trinity Twellman.
That response was one of many compliments uttered Thursday during the annual Stillwater Christmas Parade of Lights in downtown Stillwater.
This year’s winner for best float was Stillwater Parks and Recreation, said Collett Campbell, parade co-coordinator.
Second place was Cross Brand Country Church and third was Bible Baptist Church, Campbell said.
The first-place group was Canyon Malamute Puppies, second was Payne County 4-H Livestock Group and third was the Oklahoma State University Fire Protection Society, Campbell said.
First-place band was Perkins-Tryon High School and second was the Stillwater Pipe Band.
The Stillwater High School Band exhibited at the parade, but was not competing, Campbell said.
The winner for the best use of theme was Stillwater Parks and Recreation. Best use of lights was Cross Brand Country Church, she said.
Campbell said first-place winners get $50, second-place finishers get $35 and third-place finishers get $25.
Campbell said she wanted to thank parade sponsors and judges Kathy Franklin, Daniel Thrasher and Amy Jo Frazier.
Rodney Wilson, operations manager for parks and recreation, said after an initial hiccup, the light show at Chris Salmon Plaza came off well.
“The amp went to sleep,” Wilson said. “It hadn’t been run in a while so it went to sleep.”
David Casey was working a barricade for the city of Stillwater emergency management. He’s volunteered for the parade since 2000, he said.
“I like watching the kids have a good time,” Casey said.
Xaviery and Chandra Story came to their first Stillwater Christmas parade. Originally from Tennessee, this is their first year in Stillwater.
“We enjoy the Christmas season, and just wanted to see how it’s celebrated here in Stillwater,” she said.
Angie and Cale Drumm came with their son, Matthew. This was Drumm’s first year to go to the Christmas parade, though he has lived in Stillwater all of his life.
An infantry gunner in the Oklahoma National Guard, Drumm had to miss some of the parades because he was deployed overseas.
Angie Drumm said it was nice to have her husband home this year.
“It was nice to have him hang up the lights,” she said, then laughed.
Tradition brought out Tad and Janice Cox. For several years their son was in the parade in the Stillwater High School Band. Now their daughter, Laura, plays snare drum in the band.
Liz Chrz came out with her daughter, Melissa Burris, and her daughter’s friend, Jacqueline Cole. It was the first Stillwater Christmas parade for all of them. Burris said they went window shopping and tried on boots at a downtown store before going to the parade.
Chrz said she liked shopping downtown and being with friends and family.
Andy and Amy Dzialowski brought their daughter, Stella, 3, and son, Andy, 7, to their first Christmas parade. They have been in Stillwater six years, but came out this year because of the nice weather and their friends were going.
Stella said she liked the lights. Andy was also impressed.
“Oh my goodness. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Andy said.
Marie Donlon and her 12-year-old son, Bailey Bernard, went to the parade last year for the first time. Bernard said he liked the motorcycles, the big floats and the lights.
Stillwater Mayor John Bartley said he loved seeing everyone coming together. It was a cross-section of the community, he said.
“You really get to see some of the creativity, it’s pretty neat seeing some of the floats they put together,” Bartley said.