I’m going to bury the lede on this post, because I think the most important thing we can all say about the parade is this: Thank you Bill Bleakley. Five years ago you took a challenge from the embryonic Oklahoma Creativity movement and created an event that helped make this city far more appealing to our creative class and young professionals. You provided a creative outlet that showcased a segment of our population that in decades past was misunderstood, under-appreciated and even scorned. You created an event that drew many different people together – and we all got along just fine. Bill, I saw how hard you worked this parade – it wasn’t just a (big) financial commitment on your behalf. It was hard, physical labor. You and your staff did so much of the organizing, so much of the coordination on parade nights. And you paid the price to do it.
Now, that said, I’ll share a copy of the following letter, which I’m sure was no easy decision for Bill:
I’ve visited with some folks in the know on this matter. Efforts to get a replacement to keep the parade are not going well. But I’m also told there is still a chance a new sponsor might step up to keep it going.