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Rock The Canal in downtown OKC

Photo by: Henoc Kivuye


San Antonio, Texas is known for Riverwalks, while Nashville, Tenn. is home of country music. Houston is popular for its oil and gas and the Dallas Cowboys and Six Flags make Dallas a metropolitan city of diversity.

But in Oklahoma City, something new is making its mark.  On September 8 from noon to 6 p.m. the Rock the Boat Festival, the first of its kind, will be hosting free activities along the Bricktown canal.

“When you go to Bricktown you see the canal but unless you take a ride on the watertaxi, the canal is just something to look at,” Shane Magness, a lifelong resident of Oklahoma said. “This kind of event will encourage more activity and interaction in the area.”

In the past few years, Bricktown has gone through a multitude of changes, putting it on the map as one of the top 10 places to visit in Oklahoma.

Nightlife entertainment, Harkin’s Movie Theater, museums and diverse restaurants all add to Bricktown’s appeal.

“I enjoy going to the movies at the Harkins Theater and there are always cool things to do in Bricktown,” senior Hannah Bingham said. “I remember when the area first opened up and it’s been fun to watch it transform over the years.”

The activities for the Rock the Boat Festival will include live music performed by the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, photo booths, Ping-Pong, face painting, balloon animals, caricatures, magic shows and more.

On the canal, there will be water taxis to take people for rides while they enjoy live music in Downtown Oklahoma City.

“The canal is such a great venue by itself, and it’s exciting to see an event that focuses on it directly,” Manager of the Water Taxi Chad Hunting said in a recent interview with the Daily Oklahoman. “This will provide a great mix of activities for locals and visitors alike, and hopefully it will spur further interest in future events and development along the canal.”

For Oklahoma Christian University students like Magness and Bingham, the economical developments that the Rock the Boat Festival could bring to this state is welcome.

On its Facebook Page, the Rock the Boat Festival has attracted hundreds of people from in and out of the state.

“I think it’s a cool idea what they are trying to do with the Rock the Boat Festival,” Magness said. “People have started to take notice of all that’s going on down there. It’s not just people who come in from out of town for a Thunder game. In Downtown Memphis, they either just did or are getting ready to remodel after what they did down here in Oklahoma City.”

The Rock the Boat Festival is also encouraging people to go and try something new. Local restaurants will offer discounted food and drinks and stores along the canal will have special deals and sales.

“It is a great opportunity for people to do things they normally would not do,” Bingham said. “There is no reason why anyone should not go to have fun. Downtown Oklahoma City is only 15 minutes away from OC.”

For animal lovers, the Central Oklahoma Humane Society booth will have a selection of pets open for adoption.

The Central Oklahoma Humane Society employees will be there to answer any questions about adopting an animal. Just remember that Oklahoma Christian does not permit pets (other than fish) on campus.

“If my friends are free, it is definitely something we would love to go and see in the evening, especially the face painting,” Bingham said.

The Rock the Boat Festival is free and open to the public on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“If I were able to go I would definitely go,” Magness said. “There’s going to be music, different foods and other kinds of activities. It seems like it’s going to be a pretty good event and there’s going to be some good attractions to draw people in and get them interested in the area.”

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