Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 26, 2011

Ashland pulling out all stops for New Year’s

ASHLAND — Preparations are underway for the ball to drop in Ashland’s Judd Plaza at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Amber Berry, Ashland parks and recreation administrator, said parks workers are putting new garland on the ball that will drop from the Community Trust Bank building on Judd Plaza on New Year’s Eve.

The event will start at 9 p.m.. Entertainment and refreshments will be provided at the First Baptist Church Christian Life Center, 1622 Winchester Ave. The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center will also be open so people can view the Nativity exhibit “The Christ Factor” and children can explore the discovery center.

Doors open at 8:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

The celebration will include refreshments, door prizes, music from a WTCR DJ and Sister Reden Hair, and entertainment from Peanuts the Clown.

Those who attend will gather in Judd Plaza for the ball drop at about 11:45 p.m.

Sue Dowdy, director of the Ashland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the event is a warm, fun, alcohol-free way for families to welcome in the New Year.

The event is sponsored by the City of Ashland,  the Ashland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, WTCR and SuperQuik.

Dowdy said the idea for the New Year’s Eve celebration came from the late Bruce Craft, former parks and recreation director. Craft also came up with the idea of a ball drop in Ashland.

The indoor activities, such as music and refreshments, were later developments in the celebration, Dowdy said.

“The New Year’s celebration used to all be outside,” she said.

The outdoor portion of the activities is still the most popular, with many people skipping the other activities and just coming to the ball drop, Dowdy said.

Though attendance at the celebration varies, depending on factors such as weather, Dowdy said attendance at the celebration can be as high as 600.

Berry said attendance is typically about 250 people.

Dowdy said, in addition to providing a good activity for people in Ashland, the celebration also is a good chance to draw more people into Ashland as other festivals do throughout the year.

She recalled one year that she met a couple from the Chicago area who had traveled down to Ashland to celebrate New Year’s with activities, including Winter Wonderland of Lights and the New Year’s Eve celebration.

“I know it works,” she said. “I know it brings people from out of town.”

For more information, call (606) 327-2046 or (606) 923-0670.

KATIE BRANDENBURG can be reached at kbrandenburg@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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