The holidays are different this year, but some Oklahoma staples will continue to bring light to 2020.
The Oklahoma-based band The Imaginaries teamed up with Chickasha to design a music video highlighting the holiday events the city has to offer, including Chickasha’s 28th annual Festival of Light. The video features the Festival of Light’s bridge and giant Christmas tree while the duo, Maggie McClure and Shane Henry, wander the town.
The Imaginaries is an Americana band with McClure and Henry, a married couple from Oklahoma. McClure grew up in Norman, but Henry was raised in the Chickasha area. Both artists spent their holidays as children at the festival.
Earlier this year, The Imaginaries worked with the Chickasha Economic Development Council to perform during the town’s Christmas in July event. When the event was a success, McClure and Henry reached out to do something this winter.
“We wanted to highlight the Festival of Light and show off everything Chickasha has to offer during the holidays,” McClure said. “We wanted to give a sense of home.”
The Imaginaries will perform their song “Hometown Christmas” live throughout the month of December at various venues, including the Chickasha Christmas Parade at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in Downtown Chickasha.
“We want to bring some joy back into all of our lives,” McClure said. “We could all use an extra boost of holiday cheer this season.”
We are thrilled to present the WORLD PREMIERE of @imaginariesband’s "Hometown Christmas" Official Music Video filmed in @ChickashaOK / directed by @ReaganElkins w/ Intellego Media; In Collaboration w/ @chickashaedc! Thanks for watching/sharing! ❤️🎄🎵🎥 https://t.co/WAMex1hcV6— The Imaginaries (@imaginariesband) November 18, 2020
The Festival of Light, which started in 1992 by a few independent Chickasha citizens, has grown into a non-profit organization run by a board of directors, set up entirely by volunteers, and funded completely through donations.
“We are so proud of (The Imaginaries),” Cassandra Ersland, executive director of the festival, said. “We jumped on the opportunity to partner with them. They’re amazing artists and they’re highlighting our town in a wonderful way.”
Ersland has worked on this year’s festival since January. When the pandemic hit, she and the board of directors developed several possible plans in order to prepare for the end of the year.
The festival is set to open on Nov. 21 and stay open until Dec. 31. The park is open 6 - 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 6 - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Despite the economic challenges Oklahoma’s art industry has faced, the festival has not struggled with gaining volunteers or funding, Ersland said. Volunteers have been working to set up the festival for the past two weeks and other preparations have been taking place for months.
“Our community just stepped up,” Ersland said. “We’re so blessed to be able to open.”
For COVID-19 precautions, the park has been equipped with hand-sanitizing stations throughout the park. The concessions stand and gift shop will also have trailers outside so people can maintain social distancing. Signs around the park will advise visitors to wear masks and maintain 6 feet apart.
“The founders of the festival made it so it was just a drive-through event and we still have that,” Ersland said. “If someone doesn’t want to get out, they can stay in their car and still enjoy the lights.”