23rd Annual Buffalo Ball Drop a Huge Success

January 1, 2011 Updated Jan 2, 2011 at 10:52 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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23rd Annual Buffalo Ball Drop a Huge Success

January 1, 2011 Updated Jan 2, 2011 at 10:52 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY – The 23rd annual “Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks Display” at the Iskalo Electric Tower rang in 2011!

Key donors stepped-up once again to make sure the annual tradition continued, and showed the thousands of guests from around the world here for the World Junior Hockey Tournament how Buffalo rings in the New Year.

A live concert featured local band, “More Than Me,” who opened for Paul McCartney in London this summer, headlined this year’s stage performances.

It was fun for the whole family.... Dennis George, ”The Quizmaster”, took the stage at 10:30pm in Roosevelt Plaza. He tested your skill while with a fast-paced trivia show to warm up early revelers coming from First Night prior to the concert start.

The Police Athletic League of Buffalo, one of the event producers along with WKBW Channel 7, were pleased that all necessary funding was secured for the production.

"The Buffalo Ball Drop is a twenty plus year tradition for the community, and our viewers. Channel 7 is proud to continue that tradition in making good things happen for the Police Athletic League, our sponsors, viewers, and everyone who attended this exciting event," notes Channel 7 President and General Manager Bill Ransom.

Independent Health has been an anchor sponsor for many Ball Drop events over the years. Once again, Independent Health has come forward to continue this Buffalo tradition, the second largest such event in the United States. Michael W. Cropp, M.D. President and Chief Executive Officer stated,

“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 Michael W. Cropp, M.D. president and chief executive officer. “The Buffalo Ball Drop has been a community tradition for more than 20 years and we’re grateful to the many organizations and individuals dedicated to continue this tradition in downtown Buffalo. We recognize the New Year is a time for making resolutions, setting new goals, and making a fresh start. This often starts with more exercise, eating right and taking better care of yourself. Take a step toward a healthier life this year and let it begin with the Buffalo Ball Drop on New Year's Eve.”

The fireworks show, shot from the top of the Electric Tower, was once again be orchestrated by the Skylighters of WNY. For 2011, the Chevy Dealers of WNY signed on to sponsor the spectacular fireworks show, one of the most unique in the country displayed in an urban setting.

Returning sponsors also include Upstate New York Transplant Services (UNYTS) and WGRF-FM 97 Rock.

Other sponsors include Veolia Water; Local Edge Media; Frey Electric; Schmidt’s Collision and Glass; St. Bonaventure University; and Value City Furniture;

Last year’s event was nearly postponed due to lack of a significant funding source necessary to cover the large production, security, fireworks, and ancillary costs of the Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks Display.

The Fireworks show was presented by The Skylighters Of Western New York under the direction of Bill Minnich.

The fireworks used were created in Cuba, NY in the Southern Tier, with materials made in the USA.

The fireworks are custom made to be shot off the top of the Electric Tower, creating a short range shot due to the close proximity of other buildings in the downtown urban setting.

There are approximately 1,800 “shots” fired off the top of the Electric Tower from specially made “cans.”

The fireworks used are a mix of “tails” and multi shot fireworks to create the colorful splashes.

There are approximately one dozen fireworks experts from The Skylighters, who began their day Friday at 9am for the Midnight show.

The show lasted approximately 10 minutes, and is choreographed to music selected for the show by organizers that is a mix of rock, and pop.

The Skylighters of WNY have been producing the Fireworks show as part of the Buffalo Ball Drop since 1992. The Ball Drop has been taking place since 1988.

The event has grown to be the second largest Ball Drop in the United States, with an estimated 40,000 people coming to Roosevelt Square each year.

The Buffalo Police Athletic League has been serving the Buffalo community for almost 60years, providing pride, attitude, and leadership through recreational opportunities for youth.

The Electric Tower was erected in 1912, and was modeled after the Electric Building at Buffalo’s Pan American Exposition in 1901. Next year, the building will celebrate its 100th birthday.

The exterior of the Electric Tower is white glazed terra cotta. Iskalo Development, owner of the Electric Tower, renovated the entire interior of the building into Class A office space after taking over the building in 2004.