What a parade! 

This year's Gazette's Ghouls Gone Wild Halloween parade certainly exceeded everyone's expectations. An estimated crowd of 34,000 people, absolutely perfect weather, 75 entries and more flaming skeletons than last year made it a perfect evening to celebrate our city's creativity, artistry and diversity.

Midtown's invitation to start the parade near St. Anthony Hospital and Plaza Court, then crossing the 10th Street Medical Corridor to Broadway, was complemented with increased sponsorships and huge crowds along the new segments of the parade route.

When Burns Hargis envisioned " and Oklahoma Gazette organized " the Halloween parade last year, there were some concerns that such a parade could not succeed. Those concerns were set aside when the 2007 parade drew an estimated crowd of 14,000 and received broad-based participation by the city's arts and civic groups.

Hoping to double the number of last year's spectators and participants, we were pleasantly surprised that our goal was far exceeded. It now appears to be a Halloween tradition is in the making.

The annual parade is organized and managed by Oklahoma Gazette staff. Their tremendous support and effort made the parade possible and provided almost flawless execution. They were assisted by dozens of volunteers whose invaluable help enabled thousands to enjoy the parade.

We learned last year that parades don't generate much revenue and they must depend on the goodwill and financial support of others to provide the public with the opportunity to participate in and observe these great events.

With the assistance of Midtown and Automobile Alley business leadership, a critical level of sponsorship was obtained for this year's parade. Special appreciation goes to Mickey Clagg of MidTown Renaissance/Bob Howard Auto Group for his fund-raising support.

There are too many sponsors of this year's parade to list individually here, but the principal ones were St. Anthony Hospital, Party Galaxy, MidTown Renaissance, BancFirst, Bank of Oklahoma, Sonic, Oklahoma Creativity and BucktheNorm.com. Helping us get out the word were our media partners, Cox Media, Fox 25/The CW 34 and Clear Channel Radio.

A parade is not possible without the participants who spend a great deal of time and money to create the vivid assortment of costumes, floats, lights and sounds that make a great parade. A huge thanks goes to them and especially The Flaming Lips for their second year of highlighting the parade with their March of Flaming Skeletons that brought a spine-tingling finale to the parade.

On behalf of the thousands of citizens who watched the parade, we would like to thank the business and property owners in Midtown and Automobile Alley who provided free parking, facilities and events along its route.

We would like to recognize the contributions of our governmental and civic friends who believe in the value of this parade and have contributed to its success. The efforts of individuals, too numerous to name, associated with the Oklahoma City Police Department, Sheriff's Office, Parks Department, Mayor's Office, Downtown Oklahoma City, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and Urban Renewal Authority were invaluable partners.

On behalf of Oklahoma Gazette and the citizens who enjoyed the parade, I thank the Oklahoma Gazette staff and the many other people who came together to bring our city this enjoyable and entertaining evening.

Bleakley is publisher of Oklahoma Gazette.

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