It's only June, but people in Tulsa are already talking about Christmas. Organizers of Tulsa's downtown parade are adding the word "Christmas" back into the parade's name.
A non-profit group called Tulsa Events Group, LLC is putting on this year's holiday parade, taking over for the previous organizer.
That organizer had re-named it Holiday Parade of Lights in 2009, but it is now officially the American Waste Control Tulsa Christmas Parade.
The announcement was made at the Tulsa Press Club Monday morning. And organizers are prepared for potential critics.
"We do want citizens to approach us, businesses to approach us. We want people involved and engaged," said Josh McFarland, parade organizer.
Surrounded by organizers and sponsors, parade chairman Josh McFarland announced that his group - Tulsa Events Group LLC - will be taking over Tulsa's downtown parade, and putting Christmas back in the title.
In 2011, he helped start the Christmas Parade at the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center, after the downtown parade replaced the word Christmas with Holiday.
Now he's ready for potential critics, after doing away with the Holiday Parade of Lights.
"I think that people will be excited about it," he said. "And there's always going to be some that are going to be angry about anything you do - anything you say, anything you do.
In addition to a new sponsor, the group announced the parade will benefit a charity, A Soldier's Wish. A portion of funds will benefit the organization.
Kevin McDugle is a former Marine and board member of Soldier's Wish. He announced - as part of the parade - an area soldier will get a big surprise.
McDugle wouldn't say what it would be, but last year, the organization gave a returning soldier a new fishing boat.
"Soldier's Wish over the last couple years has traveled the country and granted wishes for all branches of our military simply to say thank you - and to give back," McDugle said.
The jury is still out on how much criticism the new name will draw, but McFarland insists a parade with Christmas in the title is what most people in this area want.
And they hope it will become a destination for visitors beyond Oklahoma.
"The vision is that we're geographically located in the center of the United States. So we've got an opportunity for people to come to Tulsa to do Christmas," said parade organizer Josh McFarland.
The downtown Christmas parade is scheduled to roll out at 6 p.m. on December 13, 2014.