Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Ring In the New Year, New Millenium, and the Holiday Season with Jingle Bells
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
Back to 1999!
As the world was gearing to enter the new millennium, Sapulpa ended the year with Jingle Bells. In December of 1999, the very first Jingle Bell Sweepstakes took place at the Courthouse. In addition, the Sapulpa Christmas Parade’s theme would be “A Jingle Bell Christmas.”
December 4th was a busy day filled with parades in the area that year. Glenpool and Mannford held their parade that morning at 10 AM. Sapulpa Christmas Parade would march down the streets at 4 PM that evening.
The Jingle Bell Sweepstakes Committee members kicked-off Saturday's parade as they served as the parade grand marshals, keeping with the “Jingle Bell Christmas” parade theme. As the grand marshals huddled under a blanket for warmth on their ride, “Sapulpa firefighters entertained "parade-goers with their ladder acrobatics. The Sapulpa police honor guard presented colors for the parade, while the Sapulpa High’s Ping Pings marched with the band.”
“Float riders and parade-goers alike bundled up in winter wear for the event. Temperatures dipped into the 40s as a light mist fell through the parade. Winners in the parade competition were: first, Pickett Prairie Baptist Church; second, Ball Foster Glass Co.; third, Praise Center Ministries; honorable mentions, Safari Joe’s and Cub Scout Pack No. 262 of Kiefer.”
During the weeks leading up to the Holidays, all people could talk about was Jingle Bells, and a chance to win $10,000. “The big day is drawing near for the $10,000 Jingle Bell Sweepstakes giveaway.” It was all new and exciting. Businesses and citizens were ready for weeks leading up to the event.
The first Jingle Bell Sweepstakes took place on December 18, 1999. Businesses couldn’t contain their excitement, and participated in a 10-week drawing for prizes leading up to the grand event. Lucky tickets were drawn each week for a prize from different organizations in town. “Jingle Bell Sweepstakes is underway, and participants will need to watch the Sapulpa Herald each weekend for the lucky ticket numbers in the weekly drawings.”
December’s drawings leading up to the event were for three weeks. The first week of December sponsors were Rainwater Jewelry, Bartlett Collins Outlet, Teacher’s Desk, Green Hill Funeral Home. The prizes for that week were opal and diamond earrings, $100 gift certificate, $100 gift certificate, and a burial vault.
The second week of December sponsors were SpiritBank, Rainwater Jewelry, Bartlett Collins Outlet, Pop Shoppe, Donnie’s Hamburger. The prizes for that week were $100 cash, magnetic copper bracelet, $100 gift certificate, downtown package, and $100 worth of meals at Donnie’s.
The third week and last week leading up to the first Sweepstakes was sponsored by Rainwater Jewelry, LaFever’s Furniture, Donnie’s Hamburger, Sendasational Baskets and Gifts. The prizes for the last week were a ladies Pulsar watch, $100 prize, $100 worth of meals at Donnie’s, and $100 gift certificate.
The newspaper kept everyone informed on how to participate during the first Jingle Bell Sweepstake. “Drawing for the $10,000 prize will be at the Creek County Courthouse Plaza. Ticket holder has 7 minutes to claim the cash. Two prize packages valued at $1,000 and one $2,500 scholarship at Central Tech will be awarded before the grand prize drawing. In addition, two $1,000 merchandise packages will be awarded” just a few days after the grand event*.
*Note: the winners of the $1,000 just days after the event were not announced in the papers.
The rules were for the big day that the ticket holder had to be present in order to win. “The winning ticket number will be announced live on the radio, and members of the Creek County Emergency Management will be in the crowd to escort the winner to the staging area. If the winner does not step forward within seven minutes, another ticket would be drawn.”
To receive a ticket, beginning in mid-October, participants would shop locally and “receive one ticket for every $10 purchase, up to 40 tickets.” Tickets were then held in the hopper. The hopper was approximately six feet high and five feet wide, and was decorated in jingle bells. “Although Sapulpa Main Street sponsored the event, it was not a fund-raiser for Main Street. All the money received was invested in the contest for the advertising and prizes. The Sweepstakes was designed to keep local people home to shop for the Holiday Season.”
It was said that 103 businesses participated in the $10,000 cash giveaway. “The Jingle Bell Sweepstakes was the first city wide promotion focused solely on Sapulpa retail and service businesses.” Sapulpa Main Street had dreamt of a crowd of 5 or 6 thousand. The crowd was probably twice that, if not more. Businesses, too, benefited with the advertisement and influx of people shopping locally.
Local businesses and people were ready for the grand event. Finally, on December 18, the time had arrived. “More than 12,000 people crowded the Creek County Courthouse Plaza for the $10,000 drawing.”
Winners of the $1,000 gift prize went to Bill Tuttle and Donna Morris; they received their winning tickets from Pop Shoppe. Jenny Johnston won a $2,500 scholarship to Central Tech; her winning ticket came from Gabe’s Office Supply.
Then came the grand prize drawing. All it took was for one ticket from one local business to ring in the new year, the new millennium, and the 1999 Holiday Season with Jingle Bell Sweepstakes prize money. “A quiet” participant “in one of the largest crowds ever assembled in Sapulpa” walked to the stage when their winning ticket had been drawn.
The winning ticket came from the Pop Shoppe business, and when the ticket was drawn, the winner was “quickly whisked to American National Bank by limousine to get a look at the money and pick up the cashier’s check.” The winning ticket holder had only 47 tickets themselves, as others around “had notebooks and envelopes of hundreds.” With this ticket, the winner wished to pay off some debt from a loan, “save the balance to attend a Harley-Davidson rally in Sturgis in 2000,” and have “a very good Christmas.”
The winner of the first Jingle Bell Sweepstakes in 1999 with prize of $10,000 went to Burban “Butch” LaSarge of Sapulpa.
The information found on this page has been researched through Sapulpa (and area) newspapers, Sapulpa Historical Society archives, books, and photographs, Sapulpa yearbooks, city directories, and other local authors. Any other sources will be labeled and named as the research continues. Any mistakes will be noted and adjusted as needed.