The event is sponsored by Devon Energy, the Downtown Business Improvement District and other corporate sponsors.
Other events include a tree lighting festival, a holiday run, water taxi excursions, performances, shopping, and parties. There will also be a tour of the Devon Rotunda, which includes a train for small children, readings with Mrs.Clause, performances, and an opportunity to meet Santa.
There are over 34 events happening at this year’s celebration.
Riley Cole, marketing coordinator for Downtown OKC, said that the ice rink is a hit especially well with college-aged students. She also said that students would enjoy seeing the light displays on automobile alley and shopping at the holiday pop-up shops. The shops sell local holiday-themed products.
“They’re super cute and really fun,” Cole said. “You can shop at cool local stores to buy your Christmas presents.”
There will also be a holiday-themed bar hop called the Christmas Crawl.
New attractions this year include a holiday pop-up bar with Christmas-themed decorations and apparel.
Cole said there will also be a lot of local business with holiday celebrations open to the public. Among these are the Sheraton Hotel and the Museum of Art. The Plaza District will be hosting many activities like their yearly performance of the Christmas Carol at Lyric Theater.
Amy Smith, political science/international affairs senior, said she has attended the Downtown in December events in the past and would recommend them to other students.
“I would encourage students to try the snow tubing,” she said. “It’s hilariously fun, especially for college students, but prepare to be cold. Ice skating is fun too, if you don’t mind twisting an ankle.”
Smith said there will be many churches in the area with advent activities and craft festivals during the holidays.
“I know that St. Luke’s United Methodist Church will be having a potluck,” she said. “Whether you’re religious or not, you’re welcome.”
Of all the Downtown in December events, Smith most recommends the New Year’s Eve Ceremony. Instead of watching the ball drop, the city holds an event in which the ball is raised at midnight. There are shops and food trucks with hot cocoa at the event.
“They usually have great local bands playing too,” Smith said. “There’s this one called Matt Stansberry & The Romance who have played for the past few years.”
Smith said her family will often pay for a hotel room in OKC and will stay all night participating in the events.
“You see crazy stuff happen on New Year’s,” she said. “That’s where my dad proposed to my step-mom.”
Smith said she remembers salsa dancing and improv groups from last year’s celebration. She also said her family enjoys driving around downtown to see all of the lights.
“The lights get you in the Christmas spirit, and it’s a good way to see OKC if you’re not from the city,” Smith said.