Opening Night 2014 will ring in the new year with plenty of new.
Downtown Oklahoma City's long-running, alcohol-free, family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration will feature several new musical acts, a new launchpad for its fireworks finale and a new way for festivalgoers to race into their New Year's resolutions.
Organized by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the festivities begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday and feature a wide array of homegrown entertainment, including nearly 40 musical acts on 16 stages in 10 venues across downtown.
“Our mission is to bring the arts and the community together, so what better way to do that than through New Year's Eve,” said Miranda Wilson, communications director for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.
Before the performing arts extravaganza starts Tuesday night, the inaugural Finale 5K will dash through downtown New Year's Eve afternoon. The new Opening Night kickoff event will include a one-mile run starting at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and a 5k run beginning at 3 p.m.
The certified, chip-timed course will begin and end just north of the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The 5k route will feature live music from Honky Tonk Stepchild and Justin Young, performers who can be seen later Tuesday at Opening Night. Participants in the 5k will earn an Opening Night wristband that will let them attend all the festivities, in addition to the prizes — original works of art — handed out to the division winners.
The untimed one-mile run will trek around Myriad Botanical Gardens. Those runners will receive a party favor.
“So many people set New Year's resolutions to get into shape or hit the gym or just get healthy in the New Year. And so we thought, ‘What a fun way to kind of kick off your new New Year's resolutions.' Just start off on a fresh foot a day early,” Wilson said.
Race participants are encouraged to dress in tutus, crazy socks, feather boas, spangled accessories or other celebratory garb.
“We're just really encouraging people to dress in their bright, festive New Year's Eve attire or something glittery and to just have fun with it and run and celebrate New Year's Eve,” she said.
The performance roster for Opening Night 2014 includes many longtime favorites, including the Al Good Orchestra, Ambassadors' Concert Choir, OKC Roller Derby, David Thomas and the World of Magic, OKC Improv and guitarist Edgar Cruz. The children's area inside the Cox Convention Center will feature fun and familiar activities such as a scavenger hunt, face painting and live kindie rock from Spaghetti Eddie.