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December 15, 2013

Community turns out for Christmas parade

NORMAN — The historic Sooner Theatre, built in 1929, was the perfect backdrop on Saturday for the annual Norman Christmas parade.

Dozens of floats, children dancing, drummers drumming, horses trotting, and dogs a prancing drifted past the theater as the parade made its way along Main Street. On the Sooner Theatre marquee, the iconic Christmas play, “It’s a Wonderful Life” seemed as much a description of Norman as an invitation to see the show.

Despite temperatures at the freezing mark and high winds that felt like they blew in with Santa from the North Pole, Norman showed up. In blankets and parkas, sitting in vehicles with the hatchback up, or bouncing up and down to stay warm, the community came out for the parade.

Chris Haynes ventured up and down the street, selling pink and blue clouds of cotton candy.

“It’s pretty cold,” he admitted, but his business was as brisk as the weather with parents shelling out dollars to treat their kids — and often themselves — to a candy-coated fluff of nostalgia.

Suzette McDowell, chair of the Cleveland County Democrats said this was the first year in about a decade that she watched the parade from the sidelines instead of riding the Democrats’ float.

“I actually got smart and let other people do it this year,” McDowell said.

She, like many Norman residents, increased her volunteer and civic involvement after she retired. Once a school teacher, McDowell said the parade is just one of many community events she cares about, and she noted that Norman would be much poorer without the hard work of its senior citizen volunteers.

Canvas Bradford is 8-years-old and he’s attended the Norman Christmas parade every year of his life.

“It’s our tradition,” said mom, J.J. Bradford.

She said the cold wasn’t going to deter her family from attending this year.

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