ARDMORE, Okla. ― The 31st Toys for Tots Southern Oklahoma Children's Christmas Parade Tree Lighting was held Tuesday night, marking the start of the holiday season.
The annual tradition and Ardmore holiday favorite, which stands 40 feet tall in the Ardmore Central Park, was lighted Tuesday night.
But organizers say the ornaments are actually the most important part. They say more than 500 different ornaments hang on the tree, all handmade by local children in southern Oklahoma.
"It’s cool because it makes them a part of the season. It makes them a part of the community, and what we're doing here. It's exciting to those kids. It gives them something to look forward to and say, ‘I was a part of that,’" tree lighting emcee Brooke Beyers says.
The Ardmore Christmas Parade, which was organized by the Main Street Association, marched on downtown after the tree lighting.
Downtown shops also stayed open late to bring in Christmas shoppers.