Welcome to Intrust Bank Arena

You've watched it go up, brick by brick.

Now, you're invited inside the fancy new Intrust Bank Arena to take a look around before it officially opens with Jan. 9's Brad Paisley concert.

Arena officials have organized an open house, which is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

It will include music, a ribbon-cutting, activities for kids and tours of the arena — including the only chance non-VIP-types will likely ever have to see the inside of one of the plush arena suites.

Arena officials anticipate as many as 30,000 people could visit on Saturday, and they've planned plenty of activities to keep the crowds busy.

"People have waited years to see this building," said Sarah Haertl, the arena's new director of marketing. "I would love to have all of Wichita here."

Following is a list of activities arena visitors can expect to experience. Admission to the open house is free:

* Marching Cobras: Visitors can enter the arena at 10:30 a.m. and will be greeted with a performance by the Marching Cobras, a high-energy, dancing and marching band out of Kansas City.

* Ribbon-cutting: At 11 a.m., arena officials and county dignitaries will conduct a ribbon-cutting. The actual cutting will be done by 7-year old Kaydyn Davison, a local girl who won a coloring contest where the prize was the right to cut the ribbon.

* Indoor pyro: The ribbon-cutting will be followed by some indoor pyrotechnics and a balloon drop.

* Activity time: Next, the floor will be cleared and the stage will be set up with a Guitar Hero game that kids can play. Attendees also will be able to shoot baskets at the arena's goals and practice shooting hockey pucks.

Face painters also will be there, and Zamboni fans can get an up-close look at the giant ice groomer.

* Tours: Guided tours of the arena will include a look at team locker rooms and dressing rooms as well as a visit to the exclusive Cox Lounge and the high-dollar suites, both of which will be closed to the general public once the arena opens.

* Golden Ticket contest: KWCH is sponsoring a contest in which open house attendees can register for the chance to win two tickets to every arena event being staged in 2010. You don't have to be present to win.

* Super cheap concessions: Select items from the concession stands will be sold for $1 during the open house.

* Food drive: Arena officials are asking open house attendees to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Kansas Food Bank.

* The next chance to look inside: Those who miss the open house can choose to attend two other free public events. A ROKICT music night, which will feature several local bands playing throughout the arena, will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 12.

And Thunder Hockey will have a "meet-and-skate" from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 26 when members of the public can ice skate for free with members of the team. Attendees can bring their own skates or borrow some at the arena.

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