Downtown Macon had a little bit of a Times Square feel Thursday night as hundreds of people gathered for the first drop of a lit cherry blossom ball.
The tower rose 35 feet over the square section of pavement at the intersection of Cherry and Third streets and began its descent seconds before midnight.
With the crowd roaring the final ticks of the countdown, the pink sphere of lights stopped and began sparkling with flashing bulbs.
Shouts of "Happy New Year" rang into the misty air with its blanket of fog settling in for the night.
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Couples kissed and friends embraced. Some snapped cellphone photos for mementos from the first moments of 2010.
The strains of Auld Lang Syne on the speakers drew pairs together for the first dance of the year.
Cherry Blossom CEO Karen Lambert called the event a terrific idea that sprung from NewTown Macon. She talked with revelers from Milledgeville, Dublin and Warner Robins who traveled to Macon although a persistent drizzle earlier in the day had worried organizers about turnout.
"I think there's a lot of excitement about it. There's been a buzz," Lambert said. "I think it will just grow and grow."
The ball was recycled from the festival's old metal frame Christmas tree that used to be erected on the fountain at headquarters - a fitting tribute to the offshoot of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission.
"We're very happy to have it downtown dropping and all the excitement on New Year's Eve," Lambert said. "It's great."