Float To Spotlight State In Holiday Parade

Sunday, November 19th 2006, 2:10 pm

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma's yearlong centennial celebration will be featured on a float during the 80th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Oklahoma's past and future will be represented on the float called ``Oklahoma Rising,'' which commemorates Oklahoma's 100-year statehood history.

For the second consecutive year, Oklahoma celebrities will ride on a float in the annual Thanksgiving Day event.

Oklahoma City native and 2004 Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Sandi Patty will sing ``Oklahoma Rising'' from the float. Two Oklahomans, Jimmy Webb and Vince Gill, co-wrote the song that serves as the state's centennial anthem.

Patty will be joined on board by professional baseball great Joe Carter, former University of Oklahoma basketball All-American Wayman Tisdale, Olympic gold medalist and Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith, Olympic gold medalists and married couple Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, and BMX legend Mat Hoffman.

``This is an exciting and inventive way to showcase Oklahoma on the eve of our centennial celebration. The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is a wonderful way to tout some of the great things about our state,'' Gov. Brad Henry said.

Last year, Oklahoma's float was the first to represent an entire state in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Its final public showing will be in November 2007.

The Oklahoma celebrities will ride in a covered wagon pulled by Express Personnel Clydesdales to represent Oklahoma's past. Bob Funk, co-founder of Oklahoma based Express Personnel Services, owns the horses.

The float tells the story of Oklahoma's history and future. Oklahoma's American Indian roots are shown through native symbols.

A rocket ship represents the state's eight astronauts.

And the float looks to the future with a depiction of Oklahoma's biomedical industry.

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