BERLIN – The town will once again ring in the new year with celebrations for both children and adults Dec. 31.
Berlin will host a New Year’s Eve ball drop for kids at 6 p.m. followed by a second ball drop at midnight as the town celebrates the official start of 2019.
Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director, said the addition of the event for children has expanded the success of Berlin’s New Year’s Eve celebration.
“The kids ball drop was so well received last year,” she said. “It gave parents the chance to celebrate with their kids without having to keep them up until midnight. Berlin is one giant family and families celebrate together.”
From 5-6 p.m. on Dec. 31, Berlin invites local children to gather downtown and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate. At 6 p.m., one of the town’s bucket trucks will drop a ball — the design of which was still in the works this week — and kids will be able to do their part in ringing in the new year by stomping on sheets of bubble wrap municipal officials will provide.
“The kids loved it last year,” Wells said.
The event, which was held for the first time in 2017 at the urging of Councilman Thom Gulyas, is meant to cater to the array of families with young children in town.
“There were several hundred kids there last year even though it was so bitter cold,” Wells said, adding that she expected the event to be even more popular this year.
Several hours after the children have gone home and the bubble wrap has been cleaned up, the town will host another ball drop geared toward adults. Starting at 10 p.m., visitors can gather in front of the Atlantic Hotel. Food vendors and Burley Oak Brewery will offer refreshments throughout the event while DJs and a lightshow provide entertainment. A countdown clock will be projected onto the side of Town Center Antiques as attendees count down the final seconds until the ball is dropped.
Thousands are expected to attend the annual event, which has proven successful year after year. Wells said that while there was some discussion of foregoing it this year, conversation with community residents prompted officials to stick with it.
“The outcry from residents was no,” she said. “Everyone loves it.”
She added that as they did last year, town trucks would be parked at the ends of Main Street, around the section closed for the event, to help ensure the crowd’s safety.
“We’re definitely mindful of safety concerns,” Wells said.