Tulsa's 67th Christmas Parade of Lights is Saturday night. News on Six reporter Rick Wells has been keeping track of last minute preparations.
A Texas company is building seven floats for this year's parade; it's their fourth year here. "With the exception of a few years in the Army this is pretty much all I've ever done.â€ Clyde Watts builds parade floats. Float building's been the family business since he graduated from high school in 1969.
They do 65 parades a year, including Phoenix, Arizona and the Azalea Festival in North Carolina. "We do Tulsa, we've had floats in Oklahoma City. We've taken floats to Washington D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival, I mean we move around." He has 52 identical 26 foot trailers and for most of the year they are all in service in a parade somewhere, getting readied to be in a parade, or waiting to be hauled back to Dallas to be readied for the next parade. "This float was on my floor, exactly the way you see it about two months ago."
Once they're satisfied everything is finished, everything folds up or down, it's covered with a tarp hauled to Tulsa and reassembled. He and his family do almost all the work. He might expand but can't find anyone who wants to work that hard. "Think of it this way you work all week to get ready to work all weekend." That's all the time; he says he's going about 91 hours a week during parade season, which is about 46 weeks a year. And he's my kind of guy cause he never throws anything away.
"One of my first floats that I ever built in 1978 here in Texas, er there in Texas. I still have the props, and they are probably are used once or twice a year." If you've got an idea he can make a float out of it. "I can make a float do anything. I can make it move, I can make it talk if you want it to. I have a philosophy, if you have the money I have the time."
The parade starts at 6 PM at 8th and Cincinnati and ends at 9th and Boulder.