As most people start to wind down the year in October, Yukon’s Parks and Recreation staff is just as busy as they always are.
The staff is preparing for their fall and winter months to finish the year strong.
There are still a total of 11 events coming up this year. There are four Halloween-themed events in October, one harvest-themed event and four Christmas-themed events in November, as well as two more Christmas-themed events in December.
“[Our events] are basically the same every year, we just maybe change one day,” said Jan Scott, director of Parks and Recreation. “Ours are pretty well set, and I really like all of our events. They’re all fun, and people are just there to have fun and enjoy themselves.”
The events include:
Movie at the Coop from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday on the lawn outside the Jackie Cooper Gym, 1024 E. Main St. Unlike Movies in the Park during the summer, the weather isn’t as predictable and may be too cold. In the case of inclement weather, the movie will be moved inside the gym. This year’s film is Hocus Pocus, a story about three witches who have resurrected on Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts after three centuries. A young girl and an immortal cat work together to stop the witches from putting a spell on the whole town.
Mummy & Son Masquerade from 6-8 p.m. Oct, 24 at the Jackie Cooper Gym. Boys ages four to 12 and their moms are able to participate in a night of carnival games, costume contests, hot dogs, Halloween-themed music, and candy. It costs $4 per person if you pre-register, or $5 per person the day of. No daughters or dads are allowed since they have their Daddy-Daughter Dance in January.
Spooky Senior Social from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore Dr. The social includes Halloween-themed music, games, food, and fellowship. It’s $3 per person.
“They dress up just like the kids and it’s a lot of fun,” Scott said.
Spooksville from 2-6 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Yukon Community Center, 2200 S. Holly Ave. Spooksville is $3 per child age 12 and younger, and is only geared to children up to age 12. The event includes costume contests for children and dogs, and a carnival area with games, clowns, magicians, and candy. The costume contests begin at 2 p.m. and the carnival begins at 3 p.m. There is also a small haunted house during the event. Spooksville is always hosted the Saturday before Halloween, or on Halloween if that’s when it falls.
“I enjoy Halloween,” Scott said. “We have all age groups included in Halloween, and even the dogs. There’s some party for everybody.”
Pumpkin Harvest Craft Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Dale Robertson Center. There will be 45-47 booths featuring candles, wood crafts, needlework, and home décor. Indian tacos and pumpkin muffins will be available at the Pumpkin Patch Café and at the Friends of the Park Bake Sale during the festival. Admission is free. The Parks and Recreation Department also partners with the Mabel C. Fry Public Library for their Fall Book Sale to host their events at the same time and encourage people to go to both while they’re there, Scott said.
“I like the craft festival. We have a great variety of merchandise, and it’s a great place to do Christmas shopping,” Scott said. “We do that in conjunction with the Fall Book Sale at the library. It’s fun to partner with different organizations and it just works out well. It’s a very good partnership.”
Chill Your Cheeks 5K Run, Jingle Walk, Kris Kringle Karnival, and Christmas in the Park all begin Nov. 19. Chill Your Cheeks 5K is from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Every runner is required to be able to finish the 5K in that time frame so the course can close in time to open up the roadways for drive through traffic for Christmas in the Park. Registration is $25 for adults and $20 for children through Nov. 6. The registration fee includes a long sleeve T-shirt. A $5 late fee is added to any registration forms after Nov. 6. Day-of registration is $40 for adults and $35 for children. The Jingle Walk will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Small Pavilion in Freedom Trail Park. The Jingle Walk is a one-mile walk to see the lights then back to the Freedom Trail playground. Pets and strollers are allowed in the Jingle Walk, but not in the 5K.
Christmas in the Park is the city’s longest event, running from Nov. 19 to Dec. 31. It is also one of the biggest tourist attractions Yukon offers with four million light-emitting diode (LED) lights. This year Christmas in the Park has a new train for the Santa Express train tour and new photo opportunities. Christmas in the Park will begin at 6 p.m. right after the Chill Your Cheeks 5K on Nov. 19. The Kris Kringle Karnival will also be hosted during Christmas in the Park on Nov. 19.
The Mayor’s Christmas Party for Kids from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 3 at the Dale Robertson Center. The party will feature the top three Mayor’s Essay Contest winners at 9:30 a.m. Each winner gets to choose if they’d like to read their essay or not, and if not Mayor John Alberts reads it for them.
“We hope they’ll read their essay. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t,” Scott said. “Usually if the first one reads theirs then the other two will also.”
Parks and Recreation staff advertise the Mayor’s Essay Contest to all the elementary schools. Not only Yukon Public Schools elementary schools, but also St. John’s Nepomuk Catholic School, Southwest Covenant Schools, Banner Public School in El Reno, and Piedmont Elementary School. Children can enter into the contest through their teachers.
The essay always has a Christmas theme. Some Parks and Recreation and library staff are the ones who read the papers and decide on the top three winners.
“It grows every year and it’s a lot of fun,” Scott said. “It’s fun to see if we all agree on the top picks from each group.”
Most of the time they do agree without consulting, said Sheri Shoemaker, Parks and Recreation administration secretary.
The winners of the essay contest are recognized by the Mayor at a City Council meeting in January.
The Mayor’s Christmas Party for Kids officially begin at 10 a.m. The party includes donates, crafts, games and visits from Christmas characters. Admission is free.
Sounds of the Season from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Yukon Fine Arts Auditorium. The Oklahoma City Philharmonic comes to Yukon each year to offer a Christmas performance. Other than that not having any dancer, the OKC Philharmonic offers the same type of show they offer in Downtown OKC, including the Philharmonic Pops Chorale. Tickets are $10. The tickets go on sale Nov. 17.
“It’s one of our nicest events,” Scott said. “They bring in their Christmas show, which is just like the one they Downtown but our stage is not big enough for dancers. They bring in their singing group – the Pops Chorale. It’s really nice and classy.
“It brings it to people who wouldn’t go Downtown. Yukon is not that far away, but we get a lot of seniors that attend that probably wouldn’t drive Downtown. It’s at an affordable price so it really allows anyone who wants to be able to experience it.”
Parks and Recreation partners with one of the school groups every year so they benefit from the ticket sales. They also sell ads. This year it’s Project Graduation. Each year it goes between Project Graduation and Foundation for Excellence.
“For a small town we do a lot of events for the people,” Scott said. “We always say it’s better than really working because we’re having a party all the time. It’s fun. Everybody has a good time, and we have a good time, so that makes it worthwhile. We all dress up at Halloween and it’s just fun.”
For more information on any of the events or for anyone interested in volunteering, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 354-8937.