People usually cruise down Route 66 in their cars, but this holiday season, a segment of the highway is seeing visitors walking down it—all thanks to thousands of brightly hued Christmas decorations.
The Route 66 Christmas Chute in downtown Sapulpa, Oklahoma , features more than 20,000 square feet of decorations and more than 35,000 feet of Christmas lights. The display is broken down into 10 different chutes with different themes: everything from Candy Land to Santa Claus to a patriotic theme, said Will Berry, one of the organizers of the holiday themed display.
The idea for the Christmas Chute has been two years in the making, Berry said, after organizers thought about what brought people to Sapulpa, located about 20 minutes from downtown Tulsa. A local company has held a holiday lighting event and it drew visitors in years past.
“So the idea was, well, let's parlay that light show and do something downtown to get people into our town. And so that's how the idea was formed,” Berry said.
The original idea involved a holiday themed tunnel, but fire codes prevented that from happening, so a Christmas Chute came to mind.
“It’s a walkable Christmas experience,” he added. “People spend a lot of time just literally looking at and admiring all the decorations because a lot of them are handmade.”
Another thing Berry is proud of is that the display, which has been operational since the beginning of November, was completely community-driven and privately fundraised. The organizers raised around $800,000 for the project, he said.
Twenty captains and their teams put the displays together. One team member of the ‘Let It Snow’ themed chute said she hopes it leaves a lasting impression for people.
"I hope the Christmas Chute creates new family traditions for people, and that Sapulpa will become a part of that for them. It's a really great opportunity to show off our town and tell our story," said Rebecca LaFevers in a statement.
Berry agreed. He said it’s important for the community to brand itself. There are a lot of communities around Tulsa that don’t designate themselves, but Sapulpa is a bit isolated from Tulsa and wanted to stand out, he said.
“We're wanting people to notice,” Berry said. “And I think it was important for us to be totally different. There's nothing like this around. And now we're finally on the map, if you will, by people saying, ‘Oh, my God, you got to go to Sapulpa to see the Christmas Chute.’”