Downtown in December’s Yuletide Glee
Photo by Quit Nguyen
Each Year At Christmas, Some Things Are Steadfast Traditions, like hearing the B.C. Clark jingle or singing along to Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” In fact, Christmas is all about tradition, family and enjoying the happiest season of all.
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“Downtown in December” is all about putting on a show, dressing up downtown Oklahoma City for the holidays and inviting the young and the young at heart out to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas.
“We truly have something for everybody,” said Jill Brown DeLozier, Director of Marketing and Community Relations for Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. “There are destination options for anything, whether it’s a first date at the Devon Ice Rink, corporate team-building at the Snow Tubing presented by Chesapeake or taking the grandchildren to Devon’s ‘Saturdays with Santa.’”
It was 2002 when Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc., came up with the idea for marketing Downtown in December activities. Since then, more and more events and exhibits have come to life, making the festival one of the most-anticipated holiday spectaculars.
“One of our most popular events is the SandRidge Tree Lighting Festival,” DeLozier said. “It’s being held Friday, November 28, with special appearances from Mayor Mick Cornett and Santa Claus, along with snacks and live music. There’s also a free, family-friendly holiday party that is open to the public at Dunlap Codding [on Sheridan Avenue in Film Row] on December 17.
“The SandRidge Santa Run 5k and one-mile fun run takes place December 13 this year, and we are expecting more than 500 costumed participants,” DeLozier added. “Other Downtown in December activities include Lights on Broadway in Automobile Alley; One Main Financial’s Bricktown Canal Lights; surprise run-ins with Sonic’s Segway Santa; free Bricktown Water Taxi rides on the canal; Little Willie’s Triple Dog Dare and Santa’s Adventures on the Oklahoma River.”
Other annual events like the Oklahoma City Ballet’s “Nutcracker” and Lyric Theater’s “A Christmas Carol” are always a big draw. And for shopping, the stores downtown offer gifts with enough variety to please everyone.
“Downtown Oklahoma City is home to great retailers and shopping events,” DeLozier said. “The Deluxe Winter Market at Leadership Square, Winter Shoppes at Myriad Gardens and the holiday pop-up shops in Midtown. There are literally too many events to name them all. For a full list I suggest Slice readers visit our website at downtownindecember.com.”
Working on Downtown in December requires a staff of 10, and planning starts early in the year. By spring, DeLozier says they begin organizing the events, and by late summer the fundraising and event logistics are in place. By the time October rolls around, most of the details have been finalized and the lights are being installed.
According to DeLozier, “Downtown Oklahoma City is full of light throughout the year with its LED light displays, electronic boards and street lighting. But at the holiday season it’s even more beautiful with the added decorations. And when we have snow and ice, the reflections make the city feel absolutely magical.
“Our partners, property and business owners throughout the downtown area work with us to contribute to the festive atmosphere around the holiday,” she added. “There are several major light displays, including those in the Myriad Gardens, the light curtains on Broadway Avenue in Automobile Alley and on the trees along the Bricktown Canal. Visitors will also see many decorations and holiday lights at major downtown employers’ headquarters like Devon Energy Center and Continental Energy. And then it is always great to see the small galleries, shops and restaurants decorate for this festive time of year.”