Annual Jenks Christmas Parade canceled for 2020
For the past several decades, there has always been one thing people could count on happening in November in Jenks … the Christmas Parade.
However, for the first time in more than 25 consecutive years, Santa Claus will not make his way down Main Street in Jenks to help kick off the holiday season.
The Jenks Kiwanis Club announced Monday that it has officially canceled the annual event for 2020 due to the threat of COVID-19.
“This was one of those decisions that was really tough,” Jenks Kiwanis Club President Ken Hargrove said. “We went back-and-forth knowing the city is kind of open and we are having our Halloween celebrations and other things. The problem is we normally have a whole lot of entries for the parade and everyone is hesitant to commit right now.”
The annual Christmas Parade does not happen during Christmas time, but instead the weekend following the annual “Lights On” celebration of turning the Christmas lights on in downtown Jenks in mid to late-November.
“We contacted several of our key entries, who have been with us since the Kiwanis Club has put on the parade and even some of them did not want to fully commit,” Hargrove said. “Everyone sees the finished product of the parade. They see the parade as it comes down Main Street into downtown. What they don’t see is the process before the parade and all the staging that takes place in close quarters and having to get everyone in line. If you have a bunch of kids running around, it becomes dangerous.”
Another concern for the Kiwanis Club is the number of elderly people, who are Kiwanis Club members and help annually with the parade.
“There are like five or six of us that organize the parade,” Hargrove. “It’s one of those things we talked about as an organization. This decision was an organization-wide decision, not an individual decision. We looked at it from a standpoint of positives and negatives and this year, the negatives outweighed the positives.”
Hargrove said he called the Tulsa County Health Department to get some guidance on what to do with the Christmas Parade and was told they would be glad to give their recommendation on how the event should take place.
However, Hargrove declined to move forward with the health department plan because he said he did not feel he had the amount of people needed to do what the health department would recommend.
Typically, there are roughly 1,000 people participating in the annual Christmas Parade in Jenks and 3,000 to 5,000 spectators lining the streets.
“This a tough decision for all of us,” Hargrove said. “Usually by July, we have commitments and everything going. That was not the case this year. We will look forward to a fantastic parade in 2021.”