Parade Kicks Off Light Display and Holiday Season - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Parade Kicks Off Light Display and Holiday Season

LAWTON, Okla_  The lights were lit and Santa made his first official appearance in Lawton Saturday night.

Thousands gathered at Elmer Thomas Park to enjoy the annual Holiday in the Park Parade. Dozens of floats, trucks and marching bands blazed down 3rd Street under the festive lights kicking off the holiday season. And for some, checking out the decorations and lights in Lawton is a Christmas tradition.

"We've been coming for about the past 15 years, " said parade goer, Tabitha Painter.

While others, like resident Dennis Miller, are sneaking a peek for the first time.

"This is the first one, my friend invited me."

But regardless of how many times you see it, the parade never gets old.

Parade director Melinda Kukurich will tell you, a lot of hard work goes into impressing this large crowd.

Kukurich said, "it takes usually about eight months to prepare, so usually right after we're done with this, we might take a month break, maybe, and then we start all over again."

But she says making memories for families across Southwest Oklahoma makes their hard work worthwhile.

Resident and parade goer, Avery Fennell said, "I didn't grow up too tight knit with my family, and now I have a second chance at it with my own, and every chance I get to be with my family betters me as a person and our generation."

All of the excitement brought everyone together. The twinkling lights and sounds of Christmas music filled the air. And when it was finally time for St. Nick to make his appearance, it seemed everyone was filled with a child-like sense of wonder.

And while we haven't even carved the Thanksgiving turkey, after Saturday night the people of Lawton will have a hard time not being in the Christmas spirit.

The event also kicked off the holiday light display in Elmer Thomas Park. The display is bigger than ever this year, and will be open nightly from dusk to 11 PM through January 2nd.

While park directors encourage everyone to walk or drive through the light display, they ask drivers to be extra aware of walkers or runners making their way through the park trails.

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