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City to host New Year's Eve ball drop

Alex Doty • Dec 29, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Downtown Grand Haven will once again be the place to celebrate New Year’s Eve and usher in 2017.

For the second year in a row, the city will host the New Year's Eve Community Ball Drop celebration at the intersection of First Street and Washington Avenue. The city encourages people to arrive Saturday night at about 11:45, or 15 minutes before the ball drops.

“Folks can hang around town at local restaurants, and around that time, they can come outside and congregate at that intersection,” said Vester Davis, assistant to the city manager.

The city’s public works and public safety departments have planned a similar experience as last year’s show, with improvements to the lighted ball that will hang above the downtown intersection. The ball will be suspended from the public safety department’s ladder truck and lowered during a countdown to midnight.

As the clock strikes midnight, fireworks will launch into the sky above Dewey Hill in celebration of the New Year holiday.

“I think it’s going to be a great time,” Davis said. “Fireworks in the winter — you don’t get to see that often.”

Davis said the city is working with the same company as last year to shoot the fireworks. Wolverine Fireworks Display Inc. of Kawkawlin will supply, detonate and clean up the explosives for a cost not to exceed $2,000.

“If you came last year, you can expect a good show this year,” Davis noted.

Wolverine is the same company responsible for the city’s Independence Day fireworks show above Dewey Hill.

Funds for the New Year’s Eve fireworks show will come from donations and sponsorship fees, and, if necessary, the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation’s Community Fireworks Fund.

City leaders estimated that the first-ever downtown New Year's Eve celebration brought more than 1,000 people to the downtown area. With Grand Rapids not hosting a ball drop this year, city leaders say there could be more attending the Grand Haven event.

“Folks will still look to celebrate the New Year somewhere,” Davis said.

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