Inclement Weather Doesn't Deter OKC ‘Opening Night’ Preps

Sunday, December 30th 2012, 10:13 pm
By: News 9

Wet weather in the forecast has not dampened plans for Opening Night 2013 in Downtown put on by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.

Organizers said they were expecting another record turnout this year. Last year more than 75,000 people braved high wind gusts to ring in the New Year.

Gene Chumbley gives his team a pep talk. He is the man who makes sure everything is in place for Opening Night. He has worked countless hours with the Arts Council of Oklahoma City to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

From assembling stages to blocking off city streets, his crew of 8 has a big job but rain on New Year's Eve could cause problems.

12/30/2012 Related Story: Ring In The New Year At opening Night In Downtown OKC

"I've been doing it for 22 years. I've got it all pretty much figured out," he explained. "We would have most of the stuff outside, but I want to get everything in because of the wood on the staging. If you get it all wet and you take it in the building, it's going to get really messed up and all the chairs and all that."

With a lot of stuff still needing assembly, Monday will be crunch time for Chumbley's crew.

"Tomorrow we've got five venues to do."

Once the crew from Event Productions, Inc. finishes setting it all up, 400 volunteers are charged with making sure everyone has a good time at venues inside and out.

"Forty performances, we'll have the roller-derby girls at the cox convention center, we'll have some OKC improv," said Stacy Hawthorne with the Arts Council of OKC. "This is truly an event for all ages. The whole family is welcome."

First thing Monday morning crews hoist the two-and-a half ton steel ball, covered with more than 5,000 lights. It's the symbol of ringing in the New Year in Oklahoma City.