Update 4:30 a.m.: Mayor G.T. Bynum kicked off 918 Day by seeking those up and running when most of Tulsa is asleep.
His first stop was at midnight at Spirit AeroSystems, a Wichita-based aerospace manufacturing company near the airport, followed by a visit to Bama Foods in north Tulsa.
Bynum expressed wonder for each stop during a meeting with media at the Center of the Universe, and shared a newly-learned fact: Bama Foods makes 2 1/2 million biscuits and 1 million hot cakes that are shipped all over the country every single day.
He took a box of those biscuits to Tulsa's 911 center to show his appreciation for those who work a job he described as one of the most stressful. Bynum also visited the Whataburger near 41st Street and Hudson Avenue that reopened in late July after an Aug. 6, 2017, tornado ripped through the structure.
His next stop was a sunrise ride in a Tulsa Police Department helicopter, and though he was thrilled to go, he said he was most looking forward to experiencing the Tulsa Fire Department's flashover simulator later tonight.
The story below appears as it was published in print.
Good morning, and welcome to 918 Day.
It’s Sept. 18 — 9-18 — the numbers of the main telephone area code for the Tulsa region.
918 Day is the city’s second annual celebration of all that makes Tulsa sparkle. And for the second straight year, Mayor G.T. Bynum is the head cheerleader.
The mayor is taking a 24-hour tour of various destinations in the city and detailing his trip on social media. You can follow him on Facebook (Mayor GT Bynum) and Twitter (@gtbynum).
Bynum began his day at midnight Wednesday with a visit to an aerospace plant. He will end his day at the Tulsa World, where he will help load Thursday’s papers onto trucks for delivery throughout the Tulsa area.
The mayor plans to make 34 stops, including visits to a neighborhood block party, the University of Tulsa, the Woody Guthrie Museum and Vernon AME Church.
“We started 918 Day last year for two main reasons,” Bynum said. “First, there are so many things to celebrate about Tulsa right now, but we didn’t have a specific day.
“Second, we wanted a way to highlight the diversity of all that is happening in Tulsa — a way to draw people out of the bubbles we live in during our daily lives and learn about opportunities that are right here in Tulsa.”
The event has grown considerably since last year, according to figures provided by the city.
One hundred teams registered for this year’s 918 Day Scavenger Hunt, which took place Saturday, up from 68 last year. The number of businesses offering discounts has almost doubled from last year, to 43, and this year there will be nine 918 Day community events. Last year, there were none.
“I think the growth in enthusiasm is directly attributable to the excitement Tulsans feel about our city right now,” Bynum said. “My 24-hour tour is a good example. We did it last year for the first time and after that received so many great recommendations for year two.
“I’m going to be scrambling from one thing to the next for 24 hours straight, and there’s still not enough time to hit everything we wanted to do.”
One of this year’s community events is the 918 Comedy Night at H.A. Chapman Centennial Green, Sixth Street and Boston Avenue. The free event begins at 6 p.m. with live music. The family-friendly show will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Decidedly Adult show runs from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“The early show is the one I really think is going to be the most fun,” said Michael Patton, a show host. “I’ve got an 8-year-old kid who just kills and a 13-year-old girl who is just incredible.
“It’s the best way to end off 918 Day. We’re calling it the unofficial after party of 918.”
For more information, go to chapmangreenarts.com/918-comedy-night.
The 918 Day-related events will wind down Thursday with the Oklahoma City of Dialogue Institute’s Friendship Dinner and Awards Ceremony at OU-Tulsa Schusterman Learning Center, 4502 E. 41st St.
Gathering Place, Reading Partners and the Tulsa-City County Library will be honored at the event.
For more information, go to dialogueok.org.