Santa Claus Comes To Town
In 1926, Santa and his live reindeer appeared before a crowd of at least 50,000 parade attendees.
A year later—in 1927—Santa flew in on a special plane made just for him.
Wonders From Around The World
By 1933, the parade had become a well-established event and a big draw for downtown stores, which stayed open later than their normal hours to take advantage of the huge crowd of shoppers. Santa rode in a sleigh made from rubber tires and the theme was Wonders from Around the World.
The parade would see a several year hiatus because of World War II.
Bright lights decorated the intersection of 5th Street and Main in 1942. (Photo Courtesy of the Tulsa World)
Marching bands have always been a crowd favorite in past and present parades. Here, the Tulsa University Band leads the Tulsa Christmas Parade. (Photo Courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection and Rotary Club of Tulsa)
By the 1950s, the parade became known as the Yuletide Parade and boasted at least a dozen floats.
Blast From Tulsa’s Past
Marching bands continue to lead the way. (Photo Courtesy of Scott Hamilton)
The parade was postponed a week due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
During the energy crisis of 1973, the city waited until December 1st to put up Christmas lights downtown—a full 15 days later than normal. They were turned off at 10 PM nightly to conserve electricity. However, this change did not affect the parade, as it was held during the daytime.
Iran Hostage Crisis
The start of the 1980 parade featured flags topped with yellow ribbons, reminding parade attendees of the 52 American hostages held in Iran.
For a time, the parade was held during the day to help downtown businesses. In 1986, the parade became held at night when Public Service Company of Oklahoma became a sponsor of the Tulsa Christmas Parade of Light. (Photo and Content Courtesy of Steve Crane/Tulsa World File)
A New Tradition
A group of community and business leaders came together to organize the region’s favorite parade. Collectively they decided to ensure that each year a worthwhile charity would benefit from the funds raised for our Tulsa tradition.
An Old-Fashined Family Christmas
Nearly a century after the first celebrations began, Tulsa continues the tradition of gathering families together to watch the annual Christmas parade light up Downtown Tulsa.
Christmas Cheer Of Yesteryear
And So The Tradition Continues
We will see you this December as Tulsa continues to add to Christmas parade history!