From ball drops to Watch Night services, there are plenty of options for people in Middle Georgia looking to ring in the new year. New events this year include the Buzzard Drop in Perry and the New Year’s Eve Bash at the Centreplex Ballroom in Macon. Below is a collection of some of the events that are happening in the midstate.
Cherry Blossom Ball Drop
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 celebrate in downtown Macon.
The free event starts at 7 p.m. in Cherry Street Plaza with inflatables, face painting and glitter tattoos, said Sean Pritchard, the Cherry Blossom Festival’s business manager.
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“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.
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- to 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.
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 at Terminal Station that starts at 8 p.m. Tickets to The Big Bash start at $25.
New Year’s Eve Bash
Three bands will be headlining Macon’s newest New Year’s Eve party. With The Whiskey Gentry, Tyler Hammond Band and WoolFolk performing at the Centreplex Ballroom at the Macon Coliseum, organizer David Higdon said he’s really excited about the event.
“This is our first New Year’s Eve Bash. We can’t wait to see the bands and have a good time,” said Higdon, who is the events manager for the Macon Marriott City Center hotel and Macon Coliseum. “We are trying to encourage everyone to attend as many events as possible that evening. We aren’t trying to compete with other events, and we think that there is time for everything. To that end, we are providing a trolley from the Centreplex Ballroom to the Terminal Station in downtown, where the ball drop will be.”
The evening’s music will begin at 8 p.m.
“We plan on rocking in the New Year,” Higdon said.
Higdon also said the celebration’s food and drink won’t disappoint New Year’s Eve revelers.
“There will be a bar available to everyone, as well as appetizers for purchase. With a VIP ticket, the food will be free, and there will be an open bar. After midnight, there will be a full breakfast buffet catered by Vintage Restaurant and Bar. This will be complimentary with the VIP ticket but available for purchase a la carte if anyone prefers that option,” he said.
Regular tickets are $15, and VIP passes are $65.
The idea of the Perry Buzzard Drop was formed from a group sitting around drinking coffee, lamenting there was no local New Year’s Eve party to go to, said Mary Beth Bass, economic development director for the city of Perry.
Because there were buzzards in the area roosting at the city’s water tower, someone jokingly suggested dropping a buzzard.
“From that sort of tongue in cheek idea,” Bass said, the Downtown Development Authority decided to create a mechanical buzzard to coincide with the countdown to midnight.
Aside from the buzzard drop, there will be live entertainment from the Celebration Band from 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Perry will use its recreation department vans to take city residents home at the end of the night, said Mayor Jimmy Faircloth.
Food and alcohol are available during the street party, which will take place downtown. Rusty’s, a downtown restaurant, will create a signature buzzard drink for the occasion.
The New Perry Hotel will sell breakfast after the event and will also have rooms available.
Put on your black ties
If you’re looking to get dressed up and help out others, then the New Year’s Eve Charity Ball in Warner Robins might be the event for you.
Sponsored by the Warner Robins Noon Optimist Club, proceeds from the event benefit the Rainbow House Children’s Resource Center. Tickets are $50 a person or $750 for a table of eight. The event will feature dancing, music from Quiet Storm and heavy hors d’oeuvres. A raffle and a champagne toast are included, and there will also be a cash bar. The event is from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at Courtyard by Marriott, 589 Carl Vinson Parkway. Tickets are available at www.wroptimist.org.
Watch Night and New Year’s Eve services
Upper Mount Zion Baptist: 7 p.m., 7772 U.S. 80 East, Jeffersonville. 478-781-0599.
New Elim Baptist: 8:30 p.m., 4368 Hartley Bridge Road, Macon. Wayne Chambley and Maranatha in concert. Breakfast between performances. 478-235-1333.
Voice of Thunder Dream Center: 9 p.m., 3775 Napier Ave., Macon. “A Prophetic Word for 2014.” Prophetess I.E. Tharpe and Prophet L.S. Ivry preaching. 478-973-2561.
Union Baptist: 9 p.m., 1137 Kitchens St., Macon. Watch Night service. 478-746-9155.
New Corinth Church: 9 p.m. 478-320-1093.
New Birth Missionary Baptist: 9 p.m., 1830 Williamson Road, Macon. 478-788-0079.
Miracle Healing Temple: 9:30 p.m. Apostle Willie Mae Holmes and Pastor Apostle J.L. Stevenson preaching. Breakfast served following service. 478-552-5889.
D.D. Memorial Baptist: 10 p.m., 12041 U.S. 129, Dry Branch. 478-743-6216.
St. Mary Baptist: 10 p.m., 1456 Woodliff St., Macon. 478-755-9861.
St. James CME: 10 p.m., 1007 WF Ragin Drive, Perry. The Rev. Cameron Jordan speaking. 478-953-2262.
Kings Chapel Baptist: 10 p.m., 2994 Upper River Road, Macon. 478-745-5121.
Greater St. James Church of God in Christ: 10 p.m., 4040 Houston Ave., Macon. 478-474-8445.
True Love Fellowship Church: 10 p.m., 2360 New Clinton Road, Macon. 478-738-0670.
Ross Street Baptist Church: 10 p.m., 1587 Wellworth Ave., Macon. 478-228-1864.
New Renaissance Memorial Baptist: 10 p.m., 1175 Cordele Ave. E., Macon. Pastor Allen Walker preaching. 478-464-0233.
Lundy Chapel Baptist: 10 p.m. (doors open 9:30 p.m.), 2081 Forest Hill Road, Macon. Pastor Marlon Jones preaching. 478-474-3400.
Greater New Hopewell Baptist: 10 p.m., 4011 Hopewell Church Road, Jeffersonville. Griffin Baptist Church as special guest. Breakfast served. 478-945-6430.
Hebron Fellowship Baptist: 10 p.m. (doors open 9:30 p.m.), 3200 U.S. 41 North, Byron. 478-256-9705.
St. Peter AME: 10 p.m., 502 State University Drive, Fort Valley. The Rev. Michael G. Ephraim preaching. 478-825-8452.
Laurel Grove Baptist: 10 p.m., U.S. 129, Dry Branch. Pastor Malcolm Thomas speaking. 478-741-6637.
Greater Faith Revelational Outreach Ministries: 10 p.m., 108 Peach Tree St., Haddock. 478-234-1830 for transportation.
Swift Creek Missionary Baptist: 10 p.m., 4354 Jeffersonville Road, Macon. Breakfast served. 478-746-8870.