The weekend's festivities will begin with Opening Ceremony on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the UC ARC Pavilion. Opening Ceremony is an evening of excitement for our athletes, and the coaches, families and volunteers who support Special Olympics.
The ceremony starts with the traditional parade of athletes. Athletes and their coaches will be welcomed to the Games by the "Wall of Honor" consisting of law enforcement personnel from all over Northern California who raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics throughout the year.
Opening Ceremony concludes with the dramatic arrival of the Flame of Hope escorted by a police motorcade and law enforcement personnel. The law enforcement personnel will be joined by Special Olympics athletes, and together, they lite the Special Olympics caldron to officially open the Games. Spectators are more than welcome to cheer our athletes on and there is no charge for admission.
An important part of Summer Games is the running of the Special Olympics Torch, the "Flame of Hope" prior to the start of the Games. The Flame of Hope is relayed through our communities throughout Northern California, escorted by various law enforcement agency personnel. The final relay of the Torch starts at the State Capitol building, ending at Opening Ceremony where it will lite the caldron signaling the opening of the Games. It is estimated that over 3,000 Law Enforcement personnel will have the honor of escorting the Flame of Hope in their community on its journey to the Games. Many of them will be at Summer Games presenting awards to the athletes on Saturday and Sunday.