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From "The Heart of Oklahoma"

By Susen Foster

Much of central Oklahoma is two-lane byways wandering through homey little towns like Goldsby, Lexington, Washington, Wayne and Purcell, aka "The Heart of Oklahoma."

Off Interstate 35 between exits 91 and 95 just 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, is the prosperous community of Purcell, home to some of the country's most prestigious horse farms and an antique shopper's paradise.

The holidays are upon us and Purcell is going all out--beginning on Nov. 26 with "Lights from the Heart," a twinkling display of a million little stars winding their way around Purcell Lake.

If friendly animated exhibits like leaping elves and ski jumping bears don't honk your horn, or the awesome beauty of an iridescent Ice Cave and a spectacular Snowflake Tunnel doesn't take your breath away, then the reflection of it all glimmering on the lake as Angels herald the way to Bethlehem and the newborn baby Jesus, will certainly do the trick. And...you can see it all from your own vehicle or a horse drawn carriage.

This has got to be one of, if not the best holiday light festivals I have ever encountered. Hardworking employees of the City of Purcell put this ambitious exhibit together and individuals and businesses from across central Oklahoma make it a success. It costs nothing to visit, but donations help keep it beautiful and open from 5:30 p.m. each night through New Year's Eve.

As if that wasn't enough, there is so much more to do in Purcell where the red bricked streets of downtown are the setting for the town's 20th annual Christmas Parade on the evening of Dec. 4. This year's theme is "Santa's Workshop" which promises floats of Yuletide cheer and friendly faces.

The eateries and antique shops of which I've spoken will be open long hours during the holiday season. Their billboards advertise 150,000 square feet of inventory and over 200 vendors. I've counted them and it is an understatement. Whatever your fancy may be--vintage glass to vintage clothing; Fiesta ware to fancy linens, anything you can imagine and more--you will find it in Purcell.

In addition, Amtrak offers daily rail service from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth (and vice versa) with stops each morning and evening in Purcell. The station is a mere two blocks from downtown where you can shop, tour and eat to your heart's content. There is even a "saloon" for those so inclined and three motels and a bed & breakfast if you decide to stay over.

The Heart of Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce will fill you in on anything I may have missed. Visit them online at www.theheartofoklahomachamber.com or call 405-527-3093.


Date: 11/11/08

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