?Change in parade name has one Norman resident ho-ho-hopping mad
By James S. Tyree
Transcript Staff Writer
The annual event known for decades as the Norman Christmas Parade has been renamed the Norman Holiday Parade, and at least one area resident is mad as heck about it.
Cleveland County resident Bobby Cleveland said the name change is part of a nationwide attempt by liberals to erase any mention of Jesus and Christianity from the public domain. He is scheduled to discuss the topic 7:30 a.m. today as a guest of the Mark Shannon Show on WKY-AM 930.
"This is just a start, in my opinion, to take Christ out of Christmas," Cleveland said, adding that resisting the name change "is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. People involved in this are on both sides."
Cleveland is a leader in the Cleveland County Republican Luncheon Club.
The parade will begin 10 a.m. Saturday along Main Street, from Norman High School parking lot east to Crawford Avenue. This year's theme is "Toyland on Main Street."
He urges parade participants and spectators to bring Christmas Parade signs and banners to the event, with an emphasis on "Christ." He said he has tried repeatedly to reach organizers by telephone and e-mail, to find out who changed the name and why, but has heard no reply.
The event became the Norman Holiday Parade last year with little fanfare. Parade committee member Jennifer Baker said the body -- comprised entirely of practicing Christians -- voted for the change as a way to embrace community members of all faiths.
"We're not trying to be politically correct, we're trying to be fair," Baker said. "It's the holiday season so we changed the name. We would never, ever, ever take Christ out of Christmas, we're just opening it up to everyone."
This year's parade will have more than 80 floats, and Baker said Santa Claus will open the parade and ride on a fire truck. The Secret Santa program of the Cleveland County Citizen's Advisory Board's Child Welfare Unit is the grand marshal this year and will receive the proceeds.
The Cleveland County Republican Party will have a float in the parade called "CHRISTmas is for Giving." County vice chair Sharon Caliendo said the float will be the party's way "of putting Christmas in the parade, and all toys on the float will be donated to the Toys for Tots campaign."
However, she believes the parade's name isn't nearly as important as the giving associated with this time of year.
"I prefer the name Christmas parade, but I also know that Norman is a diverse community with other religions celebrating at this time of year," she wrote this week in an e-mail. "... If people want to put Christmas back in a parade, they are entitled to do that on each and every float which we are doing.
"I personally think too much energy is going into what the parade is called by some instead of helping our county party with the Toys for Tots campaign," she continued, "which will have a more lasting effect on the lives of children who need it the most."
On the other hand, state Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman, supports Cleveland and others who are keenly interested on returning the name to Norman Christmas Parade. In a written response to Caliendo, Balkman echoed Cleveland in saying it's a religious issue and not a partisan one, saying he knows of many Democrats who feel the same way.
"While I agree that the meaning of Christmas is really what's in our hearts," Balkman said in reference to what she wrote, "I also believe that our community events should recognize and celebrate Christmas -- a federal and state-recognized holiday, (and) try not to sanitize things because some secular progressive gets offended."
James S. Tyree 366-3539 email@example.com
?Change in parade name has one Norman resident ho-ho-hopping mad
- Local news
Candidates for council wards turn out for forum
The Norman Chamber of Commerce candidate forum Monday night was the public’s first official introduction to the current field of Norman City Council candidates. Wards 2, 4, 6 and 8 are up for re-election this year. Council member Chad ...
Police searching for two male suspects
Two Norman banks were robbed Monday afternoon, with witnesses giving similar descriptions of the suspects at both locations, according to the Norman Police Department. MidFirst Bank, 630 W. Main St. in Norman, was robbed around 12:30 p.m. ...
Purcell-Lexington bridge opening pushed to at least mid-June
OKLAHOMA CITY — Drivers hoping the State Highway 77/39 bridge over the Canadian River between Lexington and Purcell will be open at the end of this month will have to wait until at least mid-June because additional cracks have been found, ...
Blanchard plans St. Patrick’s Day parade
A St. Patrick’s Day parade will be at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Blanchard. The parade will feature the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, along with Oklahoma Scottish Pipe & Drum Corp, Chickasha’s Percussion Corp, carriages driven by ...
Art historian’s lecture visualizes Civil War
Images of boats serenely floating in the great Pacific quickly changed to dark storm clouds expressing fear, turmoil and conflict as John Wilmerding, American art professor at Princeton University, flipped through a slide show during his ...
Third-graders could win exemptions from read-or-fail law
If Florida’s use of a read-or-fail law for third-graders is any indication, many Oklahoma third graders who fail the state’s reading exam in April will win exemptions and advance to fourth grade....
School board supports education rally
The Norman Public Schools Board of Education passed a resolution instructing Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano to support participation in an education rally at a regular school board meeting Monday night....
The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Brendan Tyler Marler, 20, knowingly concealing stolen property, obstructing an officer · Misty Daw Ballard, 32, possession ...
Police responded to the following incidents on Sunday: · 12:53 a.m. assault report, 300 block of Vicksburg Circle · 3:24 a.m. stolen vehicle, 1200 block of West Lindsey Street · 4:14 a.m. burglary in progress, 1100 ...
Rotary International president honored
OKLAHOMA CITY — State legislators, many of them Rotarians in their home districts, came together Monday to honor Norman resident Ron Burton, the current president of the 1.2 million member Rotary International president. A joint ...
- More Local news Headlines
- Candidates for council wards turn out for forum