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Oakboro jump-starts Christmas season

Christmas comes early for Oakboro residents.

The town of Oakboro kicks off its holiday season tonight with its Christmas parade. Come Saturday residents will enjoy the town’s third annual Christmas dinner. On Wednesday, the Oakboro Police Department takes to the roof for a toy drive.

In what began as promotion of unity for Oakboro continues to balloon each year. Oakboro’s annual Christmas dinner started with fewer than 100 people. Since then, the holiday feast will collect upward of three times as many diners.

“The goal behind it was to have people unite, ” said T.J. Smith, Oakboro police chief. “People who typically don’t sit down together get to eat together.”

The dinner has also evolved into an invitation for all and no specific group.

“Nobody wants to be labeled underprivileged. Even the rich don’t want to be labeled rich,” Smith added.

First Baptist Church of Oakboro will host the dinner in its fellowship hall.

Oakboro police will grill turkeys Friday. Other foods were donated with the promotional help of the student council at Oakboro Choice STEM School.

Keeping with the Christmas spirit, Oakboro police will climb on the roof of its downtown headquarters at 7 a.m. Wednesday vowing to stay until a pickup truck is loaded with new toys for Toys for Tots, which will be distributed to Stanly County families.

The Oakboro toy drive marks a first, but like its Christmas dinner — the event could both be recurring and growing.