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New light display in Seminole is example of Oklahoma communities coming together for holiday celebrations

Seminole Lions Club members are pleased with the community's response to “Snowman Wonderland” and are looking to the future
by Bryan Painter Published: December 9, 2012

— Boxers, bulldogs and bassets were lined up waiting to be judged during Seminole Main Street's Santa Paws costume contest.

Some pet handlers were sipping hot chocolate while nearby, children to seniors were waiting to board the tram. It's an 18-foot trailer with seats along both sides pulled by a small John Deere tractor and decorated with strands of Christmas lights.

As a little band played, the tennis shoes and boots worn by onlookers tapped to the sound of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

And yet, these are just the frills at the “Snowman Wonderland,” sponsored by the Seminole Lions Club. The lights are what got all this started — just about six months ago.

The holiday revelers were between an oversized “Peeking Snowman” atop the west end roof of the Donald W. Reynolds Wellness Center, 1001 E Strother Ave., and 60 lighted Christmas displays along both ends of an outdoor walking track.

All across Oklahoma there are communities that come together to celebrate the holidays with light displays or other events. In some cases those have been going on for years. Others, such as that of the Seminole Lions Club, are in their rookie campaign. Nonetheless, the celebrations are often examples of Oklahomans uniting to provide something many can enjoy.

Neil Craig, a resident of Seminole for 33 years, is an insurance agent and a member of the Lion's Club.

Craig's leading the Snowman Wonderland charge, and charging hard.

“The city manager Steve Saxon is from Chickasha and he knew the worth of a good exhibit and what it did for the town and community and how it brought it together,” Craig said. “They wanted to start off kind of slow here, 10 or 12 displays, and see where it would go from there. I kind of felt like we ought to be able to at least double that because people in this community always come together to support you.”

Santa's busy

At Seminole, Santa and his reindeer are in motion, taking off and then soaring past an oil derrick in a display on the north end. Santa's also driving a truck hauling a large present, playing football and skiing behind a boat.

He's prominent in others as well, but certainly not all the displays.

While one display spells out “Rejoice,” another is that of a cross with a wreath on it.

Visitors can walk across a lighted bridge to an island to view a tall Christmas tree.

Members of a Lions Club committee went out and started talking to businesses, individuals and groups, showing them a catalog of displays.

Some people sponsored displays as memorials to loved ones. Businesses showed their support for the community by buying one or even two displays.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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