The Oklahoma City Holiday River Parade will take place at 6pm on Sunday, December 16 on the Oklahoma River.The theme of this year’s parade will be “Celebrating 25 Years of MAPS!”City Manager Jim Couch will serve as the Grand Marshal.
The Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) was approved by voters on December 14, 1993. The brainchild of former Mayor Ron Norick, the father of MAPS, the original MAPS included nine major capital improvement projects. The projects were funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax generating $350 million. The MAPS river project included. three low water dams which created the Oklahoma River. In 2004, the first river parade took place to officially open the new river.
“We invite everyone to join us for this year’s parade and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of MAPS,” said parade chairman Mike McAuliffe.“We wish to recognize the City’s renaissance and thank our citizens who continue to support the MAPS initiatives!”
Grand Marshal Couch, who recently announced his retirement after 18 years as City Manager, played a major role in all the MAPS initiatives. He also played a key role in bringing the NBA to Oklahoma City with both the Hornets and the Thunder. Other hands on projects include the Skirvin Hotel restoration, securing the water rights to Sardis Lake and Canton Lake and working closely with the Chickasaw Nation on the completion of the Native American Culture Center.
The 2018 parade features the OG&E Santa’s Elves Christmas Show, the parade of boats and a spectacular fireworks show. The annual parade is recognized as one of the largest free family holiday events in central Oklahoma. The OKC Holiday River Parade is presented by the Chickasaw Nation.
The OG&E Santa’s Elves Christmas Show has become a popular addition to the parade the past few years.The elves perform under the lights of the Oklahoma River with a show featuring national ski champions and professional water sports performers. Santa’s elves will perform on the swivel ski, fly board, hydrofoil, free style jet skis, as well as barefoot skiers.An audience favorite is the six-elf pyramid, also known as the Christmas tree on skis!
In 2004, the OKC Holiday River Parade established a fund with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.Thanks to the net proceeds from previous parades the Oklahoma River Fund has grown to well over $1 million!The annual interest from the fund is designated to support special projects and improvements on the Oklahoma River.