BERLIN – With a countdown clock and a ball drop, Berlin will feel a bit like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
For the seventh year in a row, Berlin will host a New Year’s Eve ball drop to ring in the new year. Outdoor bars, food vendors and festivities will bring an air of excitement to downtown Berlin.
“We’ll provide the entertainment,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic development director. “All you have to do is come on down.”
The celebration, which runs from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., has become a popular event in the historic town. Wells expects thousands to attend.
Berlin businesses will be set up selling food and drinks. Alcoholic beverages will be available at outside bars, while the town’s other dining establishments will have food and drink specials. Vendors will have hats and noisemakers for sale. DJs Al Reno, Schwab and Bigler will provide music and offer prizes in exchange for correct answers to trivia questions while a lightshow entertains the crowd. Carriage rides will also be offered.
“This is an event the town likes to put on to encourage locals to stay home and enjoy what the town has to offer,” Wells said. “It’s nice to walk down the street and wish your neighbors a ‘Happy New Year’ without having to worry about driving.”
The highlight of the evening will be the ball drop at midnight. Resident Barb Stack, who first came up with the idea of hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration in 2010, has spent hours prepping the four-foot lighted ball for the event. While it’s been covered in white lights in years past, this year, to contrast with the new white lights adorning the trees and light poles downtown, Stack says the ball will be “colorful.”
While she opted to keep the specifics quiet for a bit of a surprise, she’s sure residents will appreciate the colorful contraption, which is made up of more than 650 lights. The new multi-colored lights were donated by Stack’s company, Design Resources.
She says the handmade ball has come a long way since the initial 2010 ball drop.
“We started with a 20-inch disco ball,”
The town’s electric department delivers the ball to Stack each December so she can update it and perform maintenance. Once the ball is back in working order, the electric department handles the actual ball drop, which takes place above the Town Center Antiques building.
For the first time this year, the ball drop will follow a countdown clock projected on another downtown building. Wells encourages residents to celebrate the coming of 2017 in their hometown.
“It’s great to be able to stay home for New Year’s Eve but still go to a party,” she said.