BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Check out the photo gallery from Channel 7's Sue Dobmeier of the recent test of the Buffalo Ball at the Electric Tower. Come on down to Roosevelt Plaza, or watch the excitement on Channel 7 Saturday beginning at 11p.m.
Buffalo Ball Drop Returns to Downtown Buffalo for the 24th Year
BUFFALO, NY- Ring in 2012 at the 24th annual “Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks” event at the Electric Tower, 535 Washington Street in downtown Buffalo. New Year’s Eve comes alive Saturday December 31st when tens of thousands of people are expected to celebrate at Roosevelt Plaza - where Huron, Genesee, and Washington Streets meet – 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. This 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 ). While attending Orchard Park High School, Koch was a star athlete and captain of the basketball team. Later, Koch became the most accomplished rugby player in the State. Koch also attended Canisus College. Jamie Moses is the owner and publisher of the weekly arts and altnernative news weekly ARTVOICE, and is an accomplished musician.
Keith Radford, Joanna Pasceri, and Kendra Eaglin from Channel 7 will join Larry Norton and “D.J. Jickster” from 97 Rock when they welcome Buffalo’s Mayor Byron Brown; Sabretooth; and other WNY celebrities to ring in 2012.
The Police Athletic League of Buffalo produces the “Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks” and benefits from sponsorship proceeds.
The Electric Tower is owned by developer Paul Iskalo of Iskalo Development, and is one of the premier buildings in downtown Buffalo. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Tower, which has recently undergone a complete exterior tower restoration.
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 Buffalo Ball Drop is a tradition for the Western New York community. WKBW is proud to continue that tradition in 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. 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.
Anchor Sponsor for the “Buffalo Ball Drop & Fireworks” is Independent Health, a premier health maintenance organization, dedicated to making a difference.
Returning sponsors for the “Buffalo Ball Drop” include the Chevy Dealers of WNY, sponsoring the fireworks presentation from the Skylighters.
FWS Home Furnishings are sponsoring the entertainment stage.
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.
Here are some interesting facts about Western New York’s premier New Year’s Eve event:
The fireworks used are created in Cuba, NY in the Southern Tier, with materials made in the USA.
The fireworks are custom made to be shot from nearby the Electric Tower, creating a short range due to the close proximity of other buildings in the downtown urban setting.
There are approximately 1,800 “shots” fired from specially made “cans.”
The fireworks used are a mix of tails and multi shot fireworks to create colorful splashes.
There are approximately one dozen fireworks experts from The Skylighters, who begin their day Saturday at 9am for the Midnight show.
The Ball itself takes approximately (1:30) to descend from the top of the Electric Tower.
The weight of the ball is approx. 550 pounds.
The diameter is 5 feet.
The ball illuminates with 10,000 watts of light.
There are 350 bulbs are on the ball.
Engineers from the Electric Tower work to secure the “Ball” on the cables that stretch the length of the building, (which is over 200 feet) controlled from the top of the tower.
Engineers are in communication with the ground crew to make sure the ball does not “sway,” and is making a smooth descent in sync with the Times Square Ball to land at midnight.
The Ball is made of metal and Plexiglas, with small spotlights built inside. The ball has computer technology to control the light display.
The Ball is stored at the facilities of Indigo Productions all year, and is only brought out for the New Year’s Eve event!
The Buffalo Ball Drop was first presented as a gift to the City of Buffalo by 97 Rock, WGRF-FM in 1988.
15,000 people attended the first Ball Drop at Roosevelt Plaza, which was broadcast LIVE by WKBW Channel 7, and every year since. Channel 7’s Keith Radford has anchored each telecast.
The event has grown to be the second largest Ball Drop in the United States, with an estimated 40,000 people now 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. This 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, and recently restored the exterior tower.
Independent Health has been the primary sponsor of the Buffalo Ball Drop for decades, and for the last 23 years the Independent Health Foundation has presented “First Night” – A Drug and Alcohol Free party in association with WNY United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse - to ring in the New Year. The event this year runs 5pm – 10pm at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.