Who will take reigns on popular Halloween parade? 

Tuesday's media statement, sent to media outlets, sponsors and fans, reads:

Oklahoma Gazette has announced that it will no longer produce Gazette’s
Halloween Parade. As part of the news organization’s strategic planning
in advance of its 35th anniversary in 2014, it will focus on its core
drive of news and information delivery, with a particular emphasis on
its interactive digital products.

“It’s been a fantastic seven years
of parades,” said Gazette Publisher Bill Bleakley. “We attempted
to create an artistic phenomenon that drew tens of thousands of
people downtown for a great nighttime experience.”

The idea for the parade came from OSU
President Burns Hargis, who, at the time, headed Creative Oklahoma.
After his unsuccessful effort to enlist operational support from
major civic and arts organizations, Bleakley offered to have the
Gazette undertake the endeavor.

During the first
four years, the headliner entry in the parade was the Flaming Lips’
March of 1,000 Flaming Skeletons. The image of hundreds of marchers
in skeleton costumes bearing flaming torches and Lips frontman Wayne
Coyne rolling down the parade route in a plastic bubble became an
early icon of the parade.

“The Flaming Lips made a similar
decision three years ago,” Bleakley said. “Their successful
touring schedule finally took precedence over the parade and we
greatly appreciated their contribution to past parades.”

“We’re grateful for our many
financial sponsors of the parade who were there year after year,
particularly the three presenting sponsors, Automobile Alley, Midtown
OKC and St. Anthony Hospital and Party Galaxy, which supported the
parade in so many ways.”

Bleakley said that sponsorship support
was not the primary factor in the decision. “

We were not doing the
parade to make money. It was for community service,” Bleakley said.
“But you would not believe the amount of staff time it took to
make it happen.”

The mission of the parade was to
promote artistry, creativity and diversity in Oklahoma City and to
present an eclectic array of entries ranging from pole dancers to
deputy sheriffs in monster costumes.

Parade organizers and sponsors are
hopeful that another organization has the interest and ability to
continue the Halloween parade tradition.

Look for Oklahoma Gazette to
participate in many new and creative projects and thanks to everyone
for the great ride!

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