“We think there were over 1,000 people there,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “We think that it was very successful.”
The large crowd gathered on the night of Dec. 31 at the corner of First Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Grand Haven. There, spectators saw a lighted ball that was hoisted into the air on the Department of Public Safety ladder truck and was slowly dropped as midnight arrived. The show was followed by a brief fireworks display.
The city partnered with the Board of Light & Power, several downtown restaurants and the Grand Haven Tribune for the New Year's Eve celebration, with the city’s public works and public safety departments crafting the battery-operated ball. The total budget for the event was $2,695.
McGinnis was at the event with his family, and said everyone on the street appeared to be in good spirits and having a good time.
“There was a lot of high-fives and hugging going on,” he said. “Everyone was in the right mood and supportive, and saying nice things.”
Although the event was in its first year, McGinnis said it is likely that the ball drop will become a New Year’s Eve tradition for Grand Haven in the years to come.
“I would think (it’d return), but I will take my lead from City Council,” he said.
McGinnis added that the city now has the ball, along with the knowledge that comes with putting on the first event. Future events would continue in a similar vein, he noted.
“That’s our hope going forward — keep it simple and have a good time with friends and neighbors,” the city manager said. “It’s an easy thing to do, and it sure brings the community together.”
See more photos at the Tribune Photo Gallery with video.