December 20 - This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Downtown New Year’s Eve “Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks” event, to benefit the Police Athletic League (PAL) of Buffalo. Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown invited city residents and visitors to ring in 2018 at the Buffalo Ball Drop at Iskalo Development’s Electric Tower, located in Downtown Buffalo’s Roosevelt Plaza at the intersection of Huron, Genesee, and Washington Streets.
“Now in its 30th year, the Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks event has become an annual New Year’s Eve tradition that keeps getting bigger and better and all of downtown is ready to celebrate the best New Year’s Eve yet,” said Mayor Brown, reminding residents and visitors that the Ball Drop is a benefit for the Police Athletic League (PAL) of Buffalo. “As PAL Chair, I recognize the importance of PAL to our city and I encourage New Year’s Eve revelers to continue to support this valuable organization which provides recreational, educational, cultural and other opportunities to our youth. I also thank our exceptional sponsor organizations for their continued dedication to the annual Ball Drop. Their commitment to our youth and to our city fill us with a great sense of pride as we work together to reimagine the city we love and the neighborhoods we cherish.”
The Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks event is presented by Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo, the Police Athletic League (PAL) of Buffalo and Buffalo Place, with major sponsors which include M&T Bank, Iskalo Development, WKBW, 97 Rock, and WNY Chevy Dealers.
PAL Executive Director Nekia Kemp said, “Every year the People of Buffalo, NY come out to support the youth who participate in PAL programs. Buffalo PAL offers youth programs throughout the City of Buffalo and surrounding areas. Buffalo PAL provides a variety of year round sports programs, educational programs and mentoring in collaboration with the Buffalo Police Department. We are grateful that the City of Good Neighbors come out to celebrate with us, as we gather together to ring in the New Year in support of Buffalo’s youth. Our community enjoys a family friendly safe and enjoyable concert at NO cost and all proceeds of donations and sponsorships go directly to the Buffalo PAL youth Programs.”
“As we mark the 30 anniversary of the Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks, we can celebrate how far the city has come with the addition of so many new restaurants, hotels and entertainment attractions in downtown Buffalo. We invite all Western New Yorkers and their guests to come enjoy a fun and safe New Year’s Eve downtown,” said Buffalo Place Executive Director Michael T. Schmand.
“Major community events like the Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks have a big economic impact by generating business downtown. As a company with a 160-year history in Buffalo, we’re honored to ring out the old year and start the new one by sponsoring a community celebration that’s good for downtown businesses and also supports the Buffalo PAL and its many youth programs,” said M&T Bank Senior Vice President Keith Belanger.
Once again, the New Year’s ball will descend from atop Iskalo Development’s historic Electric Tower, located in the heart of Buffalo’s Theatre District.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to host the Buffalo Ball Drop each of the last fourteen years”, stated Paul B. Iskalo, President & CEO of Iskalo Development Corp. “We’ve enjoyed watching the event grow in spectacle and attendance over this time, and we look forward to celebrating the New Year at the Electric Tower for many years to come.”
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Buffalo Ball Drop will feature performances by some of Buffalo’s Best musicians, including Will Holton, a smooth and savvy saxophonist with an international reputation on the jazz scene. Local singing sensation and Buffalo’s own Caitlin Koch will also return to the stage for the show, which kicks off at 10:00 pm/10:30 pm, and concludes with the Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks at midnight. This year, the celebration will also feature a special laser show, new to the event, centered on the magnificent buildings in Downtown Buffalo.
Live coverage of the “Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks” will begin with “Eyewitness News at 11pm, followed by the television special “Countdown to 2018” that will be done in synch with “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018” on ABC-TV. The presentation of the “Countdown to 2018” HD telecast will be presented by WKBW Channel 7, a co-sponsor of the Ball Drop events since the first one in 1988 – when 97 Rock offered it as a gift to the city of Buffalo. D.J. Jickster from 97 Rock will co-host the event with The Eyewitness News Team, including Anchors Keith Radford and Ashley Rowe.
Michael Nurse, WKBW-TV VP and General Manager stated, “WKBW is proud to be a part of this great event since the beginning and we are so glad that the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Place are able to continue the tradition of Buffalo’s Ball Drop. We look forward to broadcasting the celebration of Buffalo’s resurgence and entrance into 2018 on WKBW as we have for the past 30 years!”
In an effort to provide reliable rides to and from the Buffalo Ball Drop, Uber is on board this year to help holiday revelers get to and from the event easier than ever. Free parking is available at nearby Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps - Main Place Mall and Fernbach Ramps - courtesy of Mayor Byron W. Brown, The Buffalo Board of Parking and Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps. For directions to ramps, go to bcarparking.com. Additionally, The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has extended Metro Rail service to go past midnight on New Year’s Eve. The last outbound train will leave downtown Buffalo at 2:00 am. Attendees using Metro Rail can park FREE at either of Metro’s two Park & Ride locations, located at UB’s South Campus on Main Street or at the LaSalle Station, on Main Street just North of Hertel Avenue. All Metro Bus and rail schedules can be found at http://metro.nfta.com/.
Video walls, set up by Indigo Productions, will offer digital images of the Buffalo and Times Square ball drops, as well as a special laser show, new to the event, centered on the magnificent buildings in Downtown Buffalo. Skylighters of WNY willshoot the fireworks show and choreograph it to classic rock and seasonal music favorites.
Other major sponsors include: Big Ditch Brewing Company, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Carmina Woods Morris DPC, Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., Frey Electric Construction, Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), Hyatt Regency Buffalo, Independent Health Foundation, Modern Disposal Services, Try-It Distributing, Uber, Uniland Development Corp., Yancey’s Fancy.
A “test drop” of the Ball will be held at 535 Washington Street, in front of the Electric Tower on Friday, December 29th at 11 am, when crews hoist the specially designed ball to the top of the tower, testing the hundreds of special lights and timing the descent.