With live music and light refreshments at the ready, the city of Ashland is prepared to ring in the new year with visitors and local residents alike with a free New Year’s Eve Party and Ball Drop in the downtown arts district.
“It’s mainly casual and a lot of people come with their families. Some people dress up or wear a sparkly top or something but mostly it is just casual,” said Sue Dowdy of the Ashland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Dowdy said the annual ball drop began “probably more than 20 years ago,” with a simple gathering which offered little more than good camaraderie, hot chocolate and a few frozen musicians.
“We would just freeze to death every year,” Dowdy said with a chuckle, explaining the decision a few years back to move the evening’s entertainment indoors and open the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center for families. The celebration soon expanded to the First Baptist Church Christian Life Center at 1622 Winchester Ave.
“It is really nice and it is all free. And, children who are accompanied by a parent can enjoy the Discovery Center downstairs at the museum,” Dowdy said. “The parks department guys always do a great job with the ball. A lot of people don’t even come to the party and just show up for the countdown and the ball drop.”
The alcohol-free evening downtown begins at 8:45 p.m. with doors open at the Christian Life Center and entertainment provided by Peanuts The Clown, who will provide balloon art for children. The evening’s music will be performed by the band Outrider, made up of Dr. Ish Stevens Jr., Jesse Waddell and Justin Butler, as well as Rob McNurlin and the Last of the Beatnik Cowboys.
The event, sponsored by the city of Ashland, the Ashland Recreation Department and the Ashland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, includes light refreshments, door prizes and party favors. For more information, call (606) 327-2046, 329-1007 or 923-0670.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.