Having ball on New Year’s
Before New Year’s resolutions and Champagne toasts can ensue, final touches are being made in preparation for the annual Ball Drop at Parkview Field.
Engineers spent the week finishing a 28-foot LED marquee that will be attached 2 feet above the red ball. The marquee will feature light shows and text, such as sponsor names and general New Year’s messages, circling the 8-foot ball throughout the night.
“It doesn’t have to be a huge change every year,” Phil Sheets, co-chair for the event, said Friday. “Every year we want to make it something a little bit different and keep improving the event.”
In its third year, the event will include a VIP gala in the suite-level lounge, behind home plate.
Guests with tickets to the gala will enjoy a dance floor, upscale bar and perfect view of the ball drop and fireworks from the balcony space.
To include more of the community, two heated spaces are reserved for the free and all-ages event in the outfield concourse and at the Lincoln Financial Event Center.
Sheets said many visitors ended up watching the ball drop from their cars in the parking lot last year, so a primary focus this year was to have heated spaces.
Most of the cost for the event comes from First Merchants Bank.
“With last year being so cold, we made an emphasis on providing more free heated spaces for people, because we felt that not everyone who wanted to be involved last year could be, just because of the frigid temperatures,” Sheets said.
The new spaces will include live music, concessions, vendors and activities for all ages.
As Sheets watches preparations come together just days before the event, his excitement is building.
“Anyone who wants to be a part of it, they can come in to the downtown area, which has just been exploding with growth in the last few years,” Sheets said. “I think it’s just a great way to start the new year.”