Holiday in the Park kicks off the holiday season
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The Holiday in the Park Parade in Lawton is set to kick off this Saturday, and officials are working tirelessly to make sure the community enjoys this year’s festivities.
7News Video Journalist Seth Marsicano spent the day with the president and CEO of the Lawton/Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, Krista Ratliff, going over all of the new additions to Holiday in the Park 2022.
“As we kick off the 2022 season of Holiday in the Park, we are very excited to unveil some exciting new things for our community. We have doubled the size of our winter skating rink, and of course, we have a ton of brand-new displays. I am personally super excited about our interactive area we have stepping stones that people can stand on and play music and we had a whole field Of Christmas lights they can control and make designs and Christmas decorations and colors of their choosing for their design,” said Ratliff.
Residents can already be seen walking and driving through Elmer Thomas park and enjoying the beautiful light display or stopping in to spend time on the ice skating rink.
“I’m just here to visit and bring my grandkids out and have a good time and enjoy the lights beautiful. they’ve done a lot of new stuff and new work and it makes it look really neat out here. It’s very festive,” said Christina Snider, a local resident.
Holiday in the Park will stay lit from Nov. 16 to Jan 1 and Ratliff said it wouldn’t be possible without all the volunteers they receive each year, who show the true meaning of holiday cheer.
“We have a 30-foot-tall living Christmas tree. It’ll dance and play music and it gets the community excited when they come out to visit us. During a season where we need to rely on each other and depend on each other, it’s so great to come out here and see the volunteers working hand-in-hand with the civilians, with the military sector, with different nonprofits who volunteer, and just different communities leaders as well,” said Ratliff.
“I think that’s cool that it will pull the community together and even newcomers come and help out like being close to fort sill it brings a lot of the military in,” said Snider
The lights display runs entirely on outside donations, but due to the success of the event, they were able to give back over $8,000 to local non-profits last year alone.
“When you see them get to enjoy the fruits of their efforts, during the six-week season, it’s nice to see the smile on the community’s faces,” said Ratliff.
The community should be extra excited this year after organizers added a Ferris wheel and doubled the size of the ice skating rink.
“I think it brings the community together and just enjoys the spirit of Christmas and the holidays,” said Snider.
The event continues to grow each year, adding the ice skating rink last year, which organizers said was a huge hit. However, the biggest attraction is bringing families together from across the state and country and sharing our unique community with them.
“Last year we had over 100,000 visitors and 20% of those were from outside our community,” said Ratliff.
Holiday in the Park always kicks off with a parade, giving local businesses and residents a chance to enter a float and join in on the festivities. Much like the Holiday in the Park lights display, it has grown each year, as a testament to the communities commitment to the Christmas spirit.
“People that came from like Texas and Kansas and stuff, they just couldn’t believe how like it had grown. It helps you get into the Christmas spirit. I would just come out and enjoy it and see what all new they have it’s really neat,” said Snider.
The Holiday in the Park parade officially kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m., with this year’s theme set as “Beloved Christmas Movies.” The parade is free and open to the public.
For more information, or to volunteer, click here.
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