Last year the ball drop and fireworks were virtual, and people watched it on tv because of COVID. Mayor Byron Brown says this year as we are coming a little through COVID and we are able to celebrate safely, it will be absolutely fantastic to see thousands of revelers back in downtown Buffalo celebrating the new year.
The mayor says it will be outside so that will be a little safer, but we are encouraging people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated; if you are vaccinated, please get your booster and if you are coming down with young children, as young as five years old, make sure they are vaccinated too. The mayor goes on to say we want people to be safe and we want people to have a good time.
The ball drop and fireworks display in Buffalo is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for the Police Athletic League (PAL). The mayor tells says the Police Athletic League provides programs and services to nearly 20,000 children annually in our community, so it is great fun but it is also for a great cause.
Nekia Kemp, PAL executive director says this is one of the biggest fundraisers for PAL for the year so this event helps support our programs throughout the year. She says the Western New York community can come on down and have some fun, enjoy some great music and the sponsorships that support this event actually go to PAL programs. Nekia says for people who don’t know or aren’t familiar with our programs, it is basically a non-profit that supports youth and their families through education, enrichment and sports activities in partnership with law enforcement.
A big thing with PAL is transportation, like getting the kids to programs and that is something that is really going to be supported from the New Year’s celebration here in Buffalo, The Police Athletic League is looking to get a new van. Nekia says we realize transportation is a huge barrier and we launched a program during the COVID-19 pandemic where we actually go from neighborhood to neighborhood and transport sporting equipment and programs to kids in various neighborhoods, so they don’t need to worry about getting to us, we come to them. Nekia says we give them free sporting equipment, we show them how to play different games and we do community kickball games, volleyball games, and we have a good time and that’s with the Buffalo Police Department as well.
When asked what his top tips for enjoying New Year’s Eve celebrations this year, Mayor Brown says the fireworks are always great with sky lighters, so people really look forward to the fireworks and then also just being there with family and friends.