Tulsa Christmas Parade: Who's actually in charge?

TULSA - Last year, instead of just one parade during the holiday season, Tulsa hosted two.

Both held at the same day at the same time, but at different locations -- the long-standing Holiday Parade of Lights and the Tulsa Christmas Parade.

Residents upset by the lack of the word "Christmas" in the title formed their own parade. It caused some controversy.

This year, organizers of the Christmas parade have split, each saying the other doesn't have authority over the parade.

To break it down, the Tulsa Christmas Parade LLC was the organizing agency of the parade last year.

The agency contact was David Arnett. This year there are some changes.

"We didn't really know how it was going to turn out last year, and it turned out to be a pretty special thing, kind of a Norman Rockwell painting if you will, of what Christmas should look like," said Josh McFarland, Tulsa Christmas Parade LLC board member.

McFarland and two others make up the board for the Tulsa Christmas Parade LLC.

He says there are some concerns about illegal fundraising for the parade.

"One of the more disturbing calls we had, we've had a couple now, of folks that are calling past sponsors," said McFarland.

He says those people are asking past sponsors for money for the Tulsa Christmas Parade, but they are not board members.

"If you get a phone call, please validate that it is on the Christmas parade board," said McFarland.

McFarland says he knows who is behind this, but won't say for legal reasons.

David Arnett, last year's organizer and the contact listed on last year's permit, says they are talking about him.

"I am the organizer, I am putting this year's parade together and I have filed a permit for this year's parade and that is currently in development in the City of Tulsa special permits office," said Arnett.

He admits to calling sponsors, but not on behalf of the LLC, on behalf of the parade.

"Have I received one dollar? No.  Have I received pledges of support? Yes.  I have not collected those because we are not at that stage yet," said Arnett.

Which means both the Tulsa Christmas Parade LLC and Arnett are moving forward on the same parade.

"The mouse or mice that were riding on the back of the wagon have decided that they want to be in front leading the team of horses, that's not my concern, my concern here is to do a Christmas parade," said Arnett.

"This isn't about any individuals at all, this about the cause, the Tulsa Christmas Parade and the higher calling that calling that comes with that parade, which is our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ being a part of this city," said McFarland.

Both sides say they may file law suits against the other.

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