Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The controversy over Tulsa's Christmas parade this weekend continues because organizers dropped "Christmas" from the title.
The change was made last year and hardly anyone noticed. This year, Senator Jim Inhofe let everyone know he wouldn't take part in the parade and that's gotten a lot of attention.
The poster for what's become the Holiday Parade of Lights features Santa Claus, but not a word about Christmas.
That's just coincidence because the artist made the poster long before the controversy erupted over the name of the parade.
For 19 years it was the Christmas Parade of Lights. Last year it was changed to the Holiday Parade of Lights.
Parade Board Chairman Larry Fox was part of that decision. "We have beauty queens and dog groups, all sorts of things. This is a premier event," Fox said.
Fox refused Monday to address, on camera, why the name was changed. Off camera, both he and last year's sponsor, PSO, have said it was to promote inclusiveness.
It went unnoticed until last week when US Senator Jim Inhofe announced he would no longer attend.
"Life is short, you do what you fell is the right thing, and I think if they're going to take Christ out they can take me out too," Inhofe told News On 6 Saturday.
Inhofe rode in the Broken Arrow Christmas Parade Saturday, where Christmas is still part of the name of the event.
12/04/2010 Related Story: Senator Inhofe Explains Tulsa Parade Controversy
This year, the Tulsa parade still doesn't have a permit from the City, after the city council delayed the process to talk about the name.
"If I had my way, I wish it would be called the Christmas parade, but it's not up to me," said Tulsa City Councilor Chris Trail.
With the council set to talk more about it Tuesday, the controversy stirred up by Inhofe shows no sign of going away.
"I'm not really boycotting it, I'm just not going to be there," Inhofe said.
Larry Fox says he's taken lots of arrows over the name change during the last week, but promises an event that is as impressive as ever, exactly two weeks before the Christmas Holiday.
The next step is for the Tulsa City Council to approve or deny the parade permit. They'll talk about it Tuesday morning and are expected to approve it, after taking time to complain about the name change in public.