December 28, 2012 9:53:36 AM
Jeff Clark - [email protected]
Although Columbus and New York's Time Square are more than 1,000 miles apart, you won't have to travel to the Big Apple to watch the ball drop in commemoration of the beginning of the new year.
The fifth annual Having A Ball Downtown New Year's Eve Block Party will be held Monday, Dec. 31 on College Street between 4th and 5th streets. Admission is $5 and the gates open at 8:30 p.m.
The even is the brainchild of Amber Brislin, who recently stepped down at director of Main Street Columbus.
" I had the idea, along with my friend Susan Bell -- who was promotions director at WCBI -- that we needed something to do in downtown Columbus on New Year's Eve and after a little brainstorming and talking with various businesses, media sponsors and partners, we were able to make our idea a reality," Brislin recalled. "The event began with humble beginnings - although it has always happened in the same location, College Street between 4th & 5th (streets), a central location that does not impede traffic to the many downtown restaurants and bars. There has always been a band and stage in the middle of the street, and it has always been a ticketed event."
According to Brislin, the ball, which was once lowered by her husband in a cherry picker, has changed over the years.
"We sought the assistance of Glenn Machine Works for a 'new and improved' ball the second year of the event and they were very generous and really exceeded our expectations," she said. "The New Year's ball is 10 feet tall by 10 feet wide, wired from the inside, has hundreds of large white flashing lights and is dropped by crane at midnight, all thanks to Glenn Machine Works."
Brislin also noted the contributions of several other primary sponsors, including Mitchell Distributing (Budweiser), WCBI, The Commercial Dispatch, The Link and Main Street Columbus, which presents the event.
Entertainment for this year's event will be Geno and the Mississippi Blues Boys. The band will play from 9 p.m. to midnight.
"We are very excited about the Mississippi Blues Boys," Main Street Columbus Director Nickie Nicholson said. "They played at the Catfish in the Alley event and people loved them. This is a family-friendly event and we encourage everyone to bring their families."
Nicholson said the event is a great deal for the $5 price.
"This is the best deal in town for a fun-filled New Year's Eve," Nicholson said. "The admission allows you entrance to the block party, which doubles as a chance to win $500 cash to be given away at midnight. You will also be eligible for numerous promotions and specials at participating downtown businesses and restaurants with your block party wristband. Beverages will be available for purchase at the block party."
Tickets are available for purchase at the gate. There will be admission gates at the intersections of College Street and Fourth and Fifth streets will close Monday at 2 p.m. Streets will open once clean-up is completed, around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 1.