Oklahoma State Parks and Resorts are lighting up for the upcoming holiday season. From lighted archways, Santa's sleigh and reindeer and trumpeting angels to carolers and Lady Liberty, state park Christmas light displays offer illuminated excitement for everyone.
The largest state park display, and one of the biggest in the state, is at Lake Texoma Resort Park near Kingston. This million-light display grows each year. Park Manager Greg Snider is excited about this year's new additions. "We've added a lighted Statue of Liberty to our display this year. She's more than forty feet tall and when she's lit up, she's just beautiful." The Statue of Liberty lights will be turned on between 7 and 8 PM, December 1, during the annual boat parade of lights and firework display. Snider says the park has also turned the park radio tower into a 250 foot lighted Christmas tree and is adding a third lighted tunnel, this one with snowflakes.
This year Texoma is teaming with the nearby city of Durant to create an even greater holiday experience. Visitors to Lake Texoma Resort Park can drive a few short miles further and also visit Durant's "Christmas in the City of Magnolias" display.
Durant's holiday light display is in its sixth year and Durant Main Street Director Donna Dow says it has become a true community pride project. "It started when the firefighters began putting some lights in the trees in the park and just the project started growing".
The Durant firefighters still play a big part in the celebration but other community groups have joined in. Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Kiamichi Technology Center, the Durant Kiwanis Club and other civic groups have joined in a big way. The seventeen displays in Durant total more than three hundred thousand lights.
Both the Lake Texoma Resort Park and Durant's "Christmas in the City of Magnolias" lighting displays open November 23, the day after Thanksgiving, and are open through New Years Eve.
Another impressive state park and community cooperative Christmas lighting display is "Christmas Lights on Grand Lake". This beautiful array of lights, mechanical displays and live music is set in Honey Springs State Park near Grove. This display also opens November 23 and runs through January 1.
Grove Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Morris says the park is the perfect setting. "The serenity of the park and the location on the lake certainly add to the quality and beauty of the display," she says. Morris says this year, live choirs and bands will be playing in the park each Friday and Saturday evening during December.
Grove also plans a special Christmas party in the park, Saturday, December 1, from 1 PM to 9 PM, with carolers, carriage rides and a live nativity performance.
Sequoyah Resort Park and Western Hills Guest Ranch near Wagoner offer a growing but beautiful display of Christmas lights located only 35 minutes from Muskogee's Honor Heights Park. Sequoyah's display is open December 8 through New Years Eve.
The Hinton Christmas Canyon Light Festival celebrates the holiday season with Fifty-five illuminated displays in a one-mile loop through Red Rock Canyon State Park, December 6 through New Years Day.
Fountainhead State Park's Christmas display has what may be the unique Santa display in the state. At Fountainhead, Santa rides a Harley Davidson. Motorcycle Santa is only one of Fountainhead's animated displays. Others include snowmen, snow women and deer. Fountainhead's celebration is open November 23 through December 31 and features tram rides every Saturday night in December. Fountainhead State Park is located on Lake Eufaula, near Checotah.
Roman Nose Resort Park near Watonga always offers a festive holiday event, the "Lighting of the Lodge" ceremony. This year it takes place on December 1. The event offers an evening of Christmas carols, games and Christmas crafts that culminates in the flip of the switch that turns on the lodge Christmas lights. This year, Roman Nose Naturalist Denise Nunn says they will make Christmas bird treats.
Even the birds have happy holidays in Oklahoma State Parks.
For information on activities and facilities at Oklahoma State Parks, Resorts and Golf Courses, visit www.oklahomaparks.com
or call, toll free, 1-800-654-8240.