REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo to headline New Year's Eve Tricentennial celebration

Little Joe Y La Familia among others scheduled to appear at Hemisfair Park

By David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor

SAN ANTONIO - Rock band REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will headline the musical acts at the Tricentennial New Year's Eve festival at Hemisfair Park, which marks the start of celebrations for the city's 300th birthday.

Other bands scheduled to perform include Little Joe Y La Familia, The Last Bandoleros, Bidi Bidi Banda, Billy Ray Sheppard and Sam Riggs, officials said.

The musical acts were announced during a news conference Wednesday.

Related: Read about 300 prominent San Antonians, Moments

The free, family-oriented gala will also feature an 80-foot ferris wheel and 35 food booths.

The Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair Park will be transformed into the Tricentennial Garden. 

Families will enjoy free admission to the festival grounds that will feature interactive art, games, trick ropers, costumed characters, face painters, caricature artists, inflatable obstacle courses, music and live theatrical performances. There will also be an outdoor cinema featuring popular movies like "Big," "Home Alone," and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

Celebrate 300 will be capped off by a spectacular midnight fireworks show that includes special lighting and pyrotechnics from multiple launch points that will appear over both the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and the Tower of the Americas. The 20-minute fireworks show will be set to a musical score created specifically for the Tricentennial. 

"The Tricentennial is the most important milestone in our lifetime to exhibit who were are and what our city will be in its next era," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. "The Tricentennial once again puts us on the world's stage."

Nirenberg said the Tricentennial is expected to attract an additional 263,000 visitors to the city, which will pump in $119 million to the local economy.

He said that the Tricentennial Commission so far has received gifts ranging from $25 to $1 million from more than 100 entities. 

Related: SA makes National Geographic Traveler 2018 Best of the World list

Carlos Contreras, interim CEO and executive director of the Tricentennial Commission, said a new website, which will be launched in mid-December, will have a calendar of hundreds of events.

Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit San Antonio, announced the organization's $3.5 million commitment to the Tricentennial. 

Visit San Antonio is dedicating significant marketing resources as well as its sales, tourism development and media relations divisions to promote San Antonio throughout 2018. 

Matej unveiled the upcoming cover of the Texas Monthly December issue featuring San Antonio with a Tricentennial message. The cover serves as an invitation for the magazine's more than two-million readers to join San Antonio in celebrating and reflecting on the influence of San Antonio in Texas.  

KSAT 12 is the official media partner of the Tricentennial.


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