Collett Campbell has volunteered as the Stillwater Christmas Parade of Lights coordinator for 22 years.
The parade is on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. and begins at 9th and Main Street and travels through downtown Stillwater.
Campbell said this is the first year there will be over 150,000 lights shining along Main Street in Stillwater.
“The way the lights used to run in Stillwater is each individual business did their own lights,” Campbell said. “This year, there will be many more lights all synchronized to music.”
Campbell said ProValue.net, a company originating in Stillwater that providinges high-speed internet to nearby rural areas, is responsible for coordinating these lights. The Ccity of Stillwater employees and volunteers helped put up the lights around downtown. Onlookers can turn their radio to FM 89.7 to hear Christmas music synchronized to these lights daily, from dusk until dawn.
Christmas of 2020 bears a stark contrast to this year's many Christmas events, Campbell said.
“Last year, we didn’t have a Christmas parade because of coronavirus,” Campbell said. “We had only canceled the parade one other time since 1999, and it was because of the weather.”
Instead, Campbell formed a “reverse” parade. In place of a parade, spectators received a road map showing where to drive to view local businesses and homes decorated with bright Christmas lights and decorations.
This year, everything returns to normal. Campbell said there will not be COVID-19 restrictions, such as enforced mask or vaccination requirements.
The parade usually gets 50- to 60 entries every year, Campbell said.
To participate in the parade, the entry must contain lights. The parade also does not allow semi-trucks or candy to be thrown. Campbell said the best place to view the parade is around 8th and Main Street, right by Louie’s.
There are trophies for the best use of theme, best use of lights and business champion. The community cash prizes are $100 for first place, $60 for second place and $40 for third place.
Because the parade takes place during dead week, there are notn’t many OSU-related entries, Campbell said.
“The Christmas parade is very small compared to the Homecoming parade, and we are only in the downtown area,” Campbell said. “It’s very community-driven. Students from other states or big cities may never get the chance to experience something like this.”
At the end of the parade, Stillwater’s Merry Main Street events will provide hot chocolate, pictures with Santa, carriage rides and more.
“It’s a whole different feel,” Campbell said. “You really get to see the Stillwater community come together.”
For more information on these Christmas events, visit www.visitstillwater.org/stillwater-holidays.