OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Forget the requisite flashing ball drop. Revelers in northeastern Oklahoma will be ringing in 2014 with the lowering of a giant olive into a martini glass.
The annual celebration at the Frank LLoyd Wright-designed Price Tower, a 19-story hotel, art museum and bar in Bartlesville, is among numerous events being held across Oklahoma to welcome the new year.
Runners in Tulsa will be racing against the clock to finish a 5K race in the same year they started it. The 11:45 p.m. start time means only elite runners will complete the race in 2013, while the rest will run or walk into 2014 with fireworks exploding in the background and celebratory drinks at the finish line.
Nearby, Native American dancers of all ages will be performing at the annual Sobriety Powwow at the Tulsa Convention Center.
Thousands of people are expected to swarm downtown Oklahoma City for Opening Night, an event hosted by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City featuring fireworks and a 5K run, along with face painting, a scavenger hunt and other family-friendly activities. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is offering free and reduced admission as part of the event.
Also in Oklahoma City, Thunder forward Kevin Durant will be hosting a New Year’s Eve party with music and dancing at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center. Elsewhere across the state, the Hee Haw variety show featuring country music and comedy is returning to the McSwain Theatre in Ada.
But don’t party too hard on Tuesday and miss out on free, guided hikes at Oklahoma state parks. The hikes, which range from less than a mile to more than 3 miles, will take place at more than 20 parks across the state, including Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton, Little Sahara State Park in Waynoka and Sequoyah State Park in Wagoner.
Oklahoma State Parks Director Kris Marek said this is the third year free hikes will be offered on New Year’s Day.
“We realize the importance of getting visitors outdoors to experience the peace and beauty of the state parks any time of year, and especially in winter,” Marek said.