3rd annual ball drop planned for downtown GH

Alex Doty • Dec 26, 2017 at 12:00 PM

For the third year, downtown Grand Haven will be the place to be to usher in 2018 and celebrate the new year.

The city plans to host its third annual New Year's Eve Community Ball Drop at the intersection of First Street and Washington Avenue. People are encouraged to arrive Sunday, Dec. 31, at 11:45 p.m. — 15 minutes before the ball drops.

“I hope everyone comes downtown and packs the streets and patronizes our local businesses at midnight,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

A lighted ball will be suspended from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety’s ladder truck and lowered during a countdown to midnight. As the clock strikes 12, fireworks will launch into the sky above Dewey Hill in celebration of the New Year holiday.

City Councilman Mike Fritz will lead the countdown to midnight as the lighted ball is lowered from the ladder truck.

“It’s a pretty cool ball. It’s not a rinky-dink little thing,” McGinnis noted. “We have an elaborate system set up to make sure we hit the ground at midnight.”

City leaders estimate that, in past years, the event has drawn about 1,000 people downtown, and hope to match those numbers again for this year’s celebration.

“It makes for an exciting night to be celebrating with hundreds and hundreds of friends,” McGinnis said.

The intent and desire of the city is to keep the event simple, allowing people to come out and celebrate at midnight without having to put much effort into it, McGinnis said.

“We’re not going to put up a beer tent, a festival or anything elaborate,” he explained. “We don’t want to make it a big job for anyone.”

McGinnis noted that, at most, there will be some music playing over loudspeakers in the half-hour leading up to midnight.

“Last year, we played music from artists who passed away the previous year,” he said.

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