AKRON, Ohio - Talk about ringing in the new year with a bang. Several local couples will tie the knot, with fireworks exploding overhead, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve in downtown Akron.
First Night Akron, celebrating its 16th year, is organizing a mass wedding.
More than 30 couples are participating. Most of them are renewing their vows, but at least six of the engaged couples are getting married in front of thousands of people.
There's more on the line than a promise to love in good times and in bad. One of the couples will win gold diamond companion wedding rings from C.L. Davis Jewelers, a horse-drawn carriage ride and and an overnight stay at the Ramada Plaza downtown.
Zach Turner and Crystal Ploe heard about the contest on Facebook and decided it was the perfect way to say, "I do."
"We were really intrigued and wanted to check it out," Turner said.
"We're working really hard towards our future goals and we're kind of limited in funds, so I think it would be exciting to win such a contest," Ploe said.
First Night will feature more than 80 performers and artists throughout downtown Akron. The family-friendly event includes several activities for kids including mask making and other crafts.
There will also be several options for folks who love live music.
"Hard Days Night will be back this year at the Akron Civic Theater. The Wanda Hunt Band is here, the University of Akron Steel Drum Band, Yiddishe Cup," said Lisa Knapp, from the Downtown Akron Partnership.
As always, there will be two fireworks shows, the first at 9 p.m. for the kids, and the larger display at midnight.
You must purchase a First Night Akron button to get into the venues. The cost is $10 for adults. Kids under 10 are free.
To see the locations to purchase buttons and to download an event guide, click on FirstNightAkron.org .
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