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Organizers Transforming Downtown OKC For 'Opening Night' Party

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Friday, Allied Steel put some finishing touches on the 3,000 pound Opening Night ball. Friday, Allied Steel put some finishing touches on the 3,000 pound Opening Night ball.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

With just four days to go before New Year's Eve, volunteers are gearing up for the mad dash of preparations for Opening Night in Oklahoma City. They will transform the downtown area in the coming days.

Friday morning, the 3,000 pound Opening Night ball was loaded up from a secret location where it has sat for the last 361 days. It arrived at Allied Steel for some finishing touches before heading to the Myriad Gardens. Crane operator Todd Pinion will raise the ball high into the air to ring in the new year. He has done this once before, almost a decade ago.

"It is cool, you know it is a big deal," said Pinion. "Hopefully, it works by the time we get it over there."

During a test light Friday, all 3,000 lights appeared to be working, so everything is expected to go on as planned.

The Arts Council has spent the year planning for this year's Opening Night. Last year about 75,000 people braved the cold and damp weather to celebrate. This year, with a clear forecast in place, they hope even more people will join in the celebration.

"Obviously with the addition of the Thunder game and the Barons game, it's a great opportunity to come out and enjoy and celebrate all of the wonderful successes we've had as a city," said event co-chair Jorge Hernandez. "Here in Oklahoma City we know how to throw a party and have a good time."

The Arts Council has also added a 5k race for New Year's Eve day. For more information on the race and other events going on at Opening Night, call (405) 270-4848 or visit www.ArtsCouncilOKC.com.

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