November’s arrival brought a bevy of construction activity to downtown Sapulpa, as the community began earnest preparations for one of Oklahoma’s biggest and most unique holiday celebrations.
Sapulpa’s Christmas Chute, held for the first time in 2022, is back for a second run with an even larger presence in the downtown area.
The Christmas Chute is a series of ten interconnected and festively decorated canopies, each offering a different Christmas-related theme. All of this is created to bring an abundance of joy to townsfolk and visitors to the Creek County seat that’s bisected by historic Route 66.
It’s enough to make Sapulpa the place to be in northeastern Oklahoma, where the Christmas spirit is alive and well, transforming downtown into a real-life Christmas village.
“It’s like a Hallmark movie in our town,” says Lucy Lawson, the City of Sapulpa’s communications and marketing director.
The Christmas Chute opened in mid-November and runs through Dec. 31. It was the product of brainstorming by a group of Sapulpa civic leaders seeking a unique way to draw visitors to town.
Will Barry, a member of the committee, says discussions began in 2019. The group’s inspiration came mainly from a gigantic, commercial lights display put up each year at a manufacturing plant on the east side of Sapulpa, and holiday festiveness of a popular tavern in neighboring Tulsa.
“We knew people liked lights, and they liked festive decorations, so we just started kicking ideas around, and the Christmas Chute was born,” says Barry.
Last year’s event brought thousands of visitors a day.
“It was better than we could have expected last year,” says Lawson. “We saw way more people than we could have imagined.”
Plans for this year include live entertainment on a concert stage, food trucks, scavenger hunts and other attractions. A senior night is planned, with assistance for people with mobility issues. Most of the events are free. The event also will include heightened security.
“We’re trying to keep the event family-friendly and safe,” says Lawson.
There will be chute themes this year, ranging from simple concepts like snow and gingerbread to more whimsical, like Candyland, Route 66, Santa and his reindeer, elves, and the Nativity. Downtown businesses have added merchandise and will extend shopping hours during the holiday season.
The community raised hundreds of thousands of dollars last year, Barry says, and has already raised more this year. Lawson mentions that the City of Sapulpa has allocated $250,000 to this year’s Chute, and also contributes city and voluntary labor toward the event.
The Christmas Chute, in addition to bringing tourists to town, also brings Sapulpa’s residents out in big numbers. Sapulpa Main Street, an organization dedicated to boosting business in the downtown area, is spearheading several events during the holidays, with a goal of encouraging people to do their Christmas shopping downtown. Planning for the 2024 Christmas Chute will begin in February.
Last year’s first-time event brought to the city “a joy you can’t get anywhere else,” says Barry. “The feeling of satisfaction is immense. It can hardly be expressed, and definitely can’t be purchased.”
For More Information
Route 66 Christmas Chute
City of Sapulpa
Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce
Sapulpa Main Street