BY GEORGE LANG Published: December 25, 2009
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Some cities drop the ball on New Year’s Eve, but Oklahoma City’s Opening Night keeps it in the air. The annual family-friendly event in downtown Oklahoma City set an attendance record to greet 2009, with more than 73,000 revelers gathered in the streets, but with a new decade beginning, that number could rise like the Opening Night ball itself.

The 23rd annual Opening Night kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday with more than 30 performances in 10 venues throughout downtown. Among the highlighted performers this year are the Uglysuit, the Non and headlining R&B/rock band PowerHouz, which will be playing at Kerr Park until the countdown.

The activities and performers this year range from the Tornado Alley Rollergirls at 7 and 8 p.m. in the Cox Convention Center’s Exhibit Hall 1, to the big band sounds of the Floyd Hanes Orchestra, holding court throughout the evening at Leadership Square. And of course, one of the most popular Opening Night destinations is the children’s area at Cox Convention Center, featuring hands-on activities such as face painting, inflatable obstacle courses, art projects and a scavenger hunt.

Also at Cox Center will be magician David Thomas, performing large-scale illusions involving full-stage sets, lavish costumes and choreography at 7:30, 9 and 10:15 p.m. in Exhibit Hall 2. Other performers in the children’s area include the All About Irish Performance Troupe and Oklahoma Children’s Acting Guild.

Opening Night is presented by Arts Council of Oklahoma City. Wristbands allowing admission to all venues are available in advance and also will be on sale that night.



Opening Night 2010
→When: 7 p.m. to midnight Thursday.

→Where: 10 venues downtown.

→Admission: Wristbands are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the event. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Wristbands are available in advance at 7-Eleven stores, metro Homeland stores, MidFirst Bank locations and Mathis Brothers Furniture. Tickets are available at the event at Stage Center, Kerr Park trailer, Leadership Square, north end of the Cox Convention Center and Kerr Auditorium.

→Information: 270-4848 or www.artscouncilokc.com.

SCHEDULE
Cox Convention Center

→Lobby: Charlie Hill, 7 p.m., 9 p.m.; Duo Fisher: Dueling Pianists, 8 and 10 p.m.; Total Equilibrium, 8 and 10 p.m.; upside down artist, 7 to 10 p.m.; Desert Fire, 10 p.m.

→Exhibit Hall 1: Oklahoma City Roller Derby, 7 and 8 p.m.; Eden Sharmaine, 9 p.m.; The Non, 10 p.m.; The Uglysuit, 11 p.m.

→Exhibit Hall 2: David Thomas and the World of Magic, 7:30, 9 and 10:15 p.m.

→Exhibit Hall 3: All About Irish Performance Troupe, 7 and 9 p.m.; Oklahoma Children’s Acting Guild, 8 and 10 p.m.; clowns/magicians/face painters, 7 to 11 p.m.

Myriad Gardens

Unity, 7 p.m.; Jamie Bramble, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.

Stage Center

→Arena Theatre: Red Dirt Improv, 7 and 9 p.m.; Lola and Sparkle, 8 and 10 p.m.

→Tolbert Theatre: Edgar Cruz, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.

Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library

Justin Echols, 7 p.m.; CDS Jazz Band, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.

Leadership Square

Floyd Hanes Orchestra, 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.

Bank of Oklahoma

Brother Summit Band, 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.

Kerr Auditorium

Boru’s Ghost, 7 p.m.; Built For Speed, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.

Kerr Park

PowerHouz, 9, 10, 11 p.m.; countdown to the new year, 11:30; finale and fireworks, midnight.

First National Center

Ambassadors’ Concert Choir, 7 p.m.; Harrison Academy Symphonic Winds, 8 p.m.; OK Chorale, 9 and 10 p.m.

Chase Tower

Cori and Chelsey Emmett with No U-Turn Band, 7, 9 and 11 p.m.; Tall Cotton String Band, 8 and 10 p.m.

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