Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks Celebrates 24th Year

December 21, 2011 Updated Dec 22, 2011 at 9:45 AM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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December 21, 2011 Updated Dec 22, 2011 at 9:45 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY ( release ) -Ring in 2012 at the 24th annual "Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks" event at Iskalo Development's Electric Tower, 535 Washington Street, in downtown Buffalo. Roosevelt Plaza - where Huron, Genesee, and Washington Streets meet - will come alive on New Year's Eve, Saturday December 31st when tens of thousands of people gather for the second largest such event in the United States!

Local singing sensation Caitlin Koch and the Jamie Moses Band will headline the show, kicking off at 10:30p.m., concluding with the Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks at midnight. Koch, an Orchard Park native, has picked up a national following with success on reality television talent shows this past year. At age 15, Caitlin won a local radio contest as "Buffalo Idol," and headlined at the HSBC Arena (Now First Niagara Center). Jamie Moses is the owner and publisher of the weekly arts and alternative news weekly ARTVOICE, and is an accomplished musician. FWS is sponsor of the Ball Drop entertainment stage.

Keith Radford, Joanna Pasceri, and Kendra Eaglin from Channel 7 will join Larry Norton and "D.J. Jickster" from 97 Rock to ring in 2012. Coverage of the "Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks" will begin with "Eyewitness News at 11pm" followed by the television special that includes "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" on ABC-TV.

"The Buffalo Ball Drop is a tradition for the Western New York community. WKBW is proud to continue that tradition of making good things happen for the Police Athletic League, our viewers, sponsors, and everyone who attends this exciting event," said Channel 7 President and General Manager Bill Ransom.

Buffalo Sabres mascot Sabretooth, WNY celebrities, and elected leaders are also scheduled to usher in the New Year from Roosevelt Plaza, including Mayor Byron W. Brown.

"Now in its 24th year, the 'Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks' display has become an annual tradition that keeps getting bigger and better," said Mayor Byron W. Brown. "I'd like to thank our exceptional sponsor organizations for the continued hard work and dedication to the people of Buffalo and Western New York. Their commitment to our city and its many assets fills us with a great sense of pride as we work to bring more business and people to the downtown district."

Anchor Sponsor for the "Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks" is Independent Health, a premier health maintenance organization, dedicated to making a difference.

"Independent Health has sponsored the Buffalo Ball Drop for more than a decade, and we're pleased to continue supporting this great community event to ring in the New Year in downtown Buffalo," said Carrie Meyer, executive director, Independent Health Foundation. "Combined with the annual Independent Health Foundation's First Night Buffalo, drug-and alcohol-free celebration, there are a lot of great activities for the entire family. The New Year is a time for making resolutions, setting new goals, and making a fresh start. If we all work to make small changes in how we care for ourselves, our families and our community, we're well on our way to creating a healthier Western New York in 2012. We look forward to seeing all of you in downtown Buffalo on New Year's Eve."

Returning sponsors for the "Buffalo Ball Drop" include the Chevy Dealers of WNY, Iskalo Development, Veolia Water, Just Pizza, Tim Horton's, Local Edge Media and WGRF-FM 97 Rock.

The Police Athletic League of Buffalo (PAL) produces the "Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks" and benefits from sponsorship proceeds. "The Police Athletic League of Buffalo is honored again to be part of the 24th Annual Ball Drop," said Nick Bonifacio of PAL. "To all the sponsors - thank you for helping us, help kids."

"In addition to welcoming the New Year, the 2012 Ball drop also ushers in the 100th anniversary of the Electric Tower," Paul Bohdan Iskalo, founder and CEO, Iskalo Development, said. "The Ball Drop, now marking its 24th year, and the restored Electric Tower have become unified in their celebration of the City of Buffalo as well as testaments to our rich heritage and harbingers for its prosperous future."

Video walls set up by Indigo Productions will offer digital images of the Buffalo and Times Square ball drops, including a presentation of the "Countdown to 2012" HD telecast 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.

The Ball will drop in synch with its sister in New York's Time Square, followed by a spectacular fireworks display presented by the Skylighters of Western New York. Bill Minnich and the Skylighters team shoot the fireworks show and choreograph it to classic rock and seasonal music favorites.

A "test drop" of the Ball will be held at 535 Washington Street, in front of the Electric Tower at Noon Wednesday December 28th, when crews hoist the specially designed ball to the top of the tower, testing the hundreds of special lights and timing the descent.