Christmas parades are a 92-year Tulsa tradition
Regardless of growth and expansion of downtown Tulsa, the parade’s route has always included South Boulder Avenue.
The 1938 Christmas parade in front of the Ritz Theater, formerly located at East Fourth Street and South Boulder Avenue, and demolished in 1980
Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
Tulsa Christmas parades have been annual events since Dec. 4, 1926, when 50,000 spectators lined downtown streets. Some years, the crowd has grown to more than 200,000.
Regardless of growth and expansion of downtown Tulsa, the parade’s route has always included South Boulder Avenue in all kinds of
Oklahoma weather. Through the years, elaborate floats, inflated character balloons (Casper the Ghost, Kermit the Frog, Peter Rabbit, Donald Duck, Pinocchio, among them), beauty queens, marching bands, drill and dance teams, an Elvis impersonator, and even live reindeer and a baby elephant from the Tulsa Zoo have made the entry list.
During the late 1940s and early ’50s, area radio stations played “Jingle Bells,” heralding the upcoming arrival of Santa Claus, whose white sleigh atop a flatbed was pulled by a white convertible. From the beginning, the parade’s main goal was to bring people from Tulsa and surrounding areas together.
Since its inception 92 years ago, the extravaganza, always happening in afternoons or evenings, has had various names and themes: the Santa Claus Parade, Tulsa World’s Santa Claus and Balloon Parade, the Children’s Parade, the Yuletide Pageant and the Parade of Lights. The current official title is Tulsa Christmas Parade, sponsored by American Waste Control Inc.
This year’s parade, themed “Miracle at Boston and Fourth Street,” begins at 1 p.m., Dec. 8. UPDATE: DUE TO WEATHER, THE PARADE HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO DEC. 15
SOURCES: “Tulsa Christmas Parade” by Jessica Gullo; the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum