Anyone looking for excitement, entertainment and tons of activities should head to downtown Oklahoma City for the annual Arts Council of Oklahoma City’s Opening Night New Year’s Eve celebration.

From fireworks and rock bands, to children’s activities and magic shows, everyone will find something to do as they ring in the New Year.

Opening Night will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday in more than 14 venues throughout downtown Oklahoma City.

Performers will include Oklahoma’s own Edgar Cruz, a classical guitarist, Pinkie and the Snakeshakers performing rock ’n roll and blues, the Sugar Free Allstars jamming out some rock, David Thomas’ “World of Magic” and the Edmond Jazz Orchestra.

“We are so excited to have the Edmond Jazz Orchestra performing as part of our celebration,” said Crystal Radcliff, public relations director for Opening Night. “They will add wonderfully to our talented line-up of performers.”

The celebration has been so successful for 19 years because of the wonderful talent provided and because of the volunteers, Radcliff said.

“There are more than 700 volunteers who assist the Arts Council in producing the event and have a great time as well,” she said.

The volunteers come in all ages and the New Year’s Eve celebration is a great time for teenagers in the community to lend a helping hand.

Laura Lindauer, 13, who attends Classen School of Advanced Studies, has volunteered in the Children’s Area of the celebration for the last two years.

“I love to see the smiles on the kid’s faces!” Lindauer said. “By volunteering, I get in free to the Opening Night events.

“Also, if you are a student needing accreditation hours, this is one way to do it — by having fun.”

This year, the Cox Center is scheduled to host the Children’s Area, which will have special activities for the kids including mask making, facepainting, murals and an interactive obstacle course.

“Activities are free for children wearing an Opening Night button,” Radcliff said. “Special performances for the children will also include Aly Aker, a champion baton twirler, Basically Ballet, Celtic Praise Troupe, Range of Motion Dance Studio, Wilbur T. Bottoms The Clown and Len Master Magician.”

But the children’s fun isn’t limited to just the Cox Center, as the Civic Center Music Hall is all set to host David Thomas’ “World of Magic” show, Radcliff added.

The Finale countdown will begin at 11:30 p.m. as The Wise Guys will perform right until midnight in Kerr Park. Fireworks will go off to ring in the New Year of 2006.

(Loralea Knox may be reached at lknox@edmondsun.com.)

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