Ring in New Year’s with the cherry blossom ball drop

Telegraph correspondentDecember 27, 2013 

After the pink ball drops at midnight in downtown Macon, there will be a 10-15 minute fireworks show.

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A cherry blossom ball will once again light Macon’s sky to celebrate the New Year.

The New Year’s Eve Cherry Blossom Ball Drop returns for the fifth year with early activities for kids and a midnight ball drop for those who want to stay out and ring in the New Year downtown.

“The early portion of the event allows families with young children the opportunity to participate in the magic of New Year’s Eve without any missed bedtimes,” said Sean Pritchard, the Cherry Blossom Festival’s business manager. “The Cherry Blossom Festival strives to produce events that are family friendly and we’re thrilled with the response from last year.”

The free event starts at 7 p.m. in Cherry Street Plaza with inflatables, face painting and glitter tattoos. This part of the evening will run until 9 p.m., Pritchard said.

“At 9 p.m., we have a short fireworks show,” he said. “Then the real party ... starts after that fireworks show.”

The later part of the night includes music from DJ Laura Starling. There also will be refreshments available for purchase including alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and food from Doughboy Pizza.

As always, the event culminates with the dropping of a large ball, which is made of pink lights and recycled metal shaped into cherry blossoms.

“It will drop at midnight with a 10-15 minute fireworks finale,” Pritchard said.

This year’s event is the effort of a new partnership between the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Advocacy Resource Center of Macon, which helps developmentally disabled members of the community.

“It is the first year of our new partnership with the Advocacy Resource Center, who will be helping produce the event from here on out,” Pritchard said. “The Advocacy Resource Center will have some of their people they help support come up and perform interspersed throughout the program.”

The ARC has its own annual New Year’s Eve event, The Big Bash, which is ticketed and includes music from the Grapevine band and a silent auction. Tickets to The Big Bash start at $25.

“They have done their annual fundraiser that same night at the Terminal Station,” Pritchard said. “So they always have a large crowd from their event come over to our event.”

He said it was a natural fit for the two groups to work together on the ball drop.

“We want to help each other with sponsorships, help with marketing and also they are a great organization,” Pritchard said. “We’re both, in different ways, in the business of improving the quality of life of people.”

New Year’s Eve Cherry Blossom Ball Drop

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 31

Where: Cherry Street Plaza, downtown Macon

Cost: Free

Information: www.cherryblossom.com/balldrop

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