3,000 people celebrate New Year’s Eve at GR party

The ball drops in downtown Grand Rapids, signalling the arrival of 2015.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It was cold and windy Wednesday night, but some 3,000 revelers made their way to downtown Grand Rapids for the seventh annual Hot New Year’s Eve Party.

Strong, sustained winds of about 20 mph forced some changes to the ball drop. Organizers said the ball drop would happen no matter what, but that it would be from a height lower than what was originally planned.

Scott Westmaas of Westmass Electric said it took around 300 hours of labor to put the New Year’s Eve ball together. The steel ball contains 450 LED bulbs.

Temperatures were around 20 degrees, but the windchill made it feel like only 5 degrees outside. Consumers Energy provided a warming tent where people could enjoy free hot chocolate or a cup of coffee. As early as 8:30 p.m., there was a long line outside the tent.

>>Photos: New Year’s Eve Party at Calder Plaza

The free New Year’s Eve party began at 7 p.m. with opening act and Grand Rapids Got Talent winner Fire Alarm followed by The Outer Vibe and pop artist Dyllan Murray. Headlining act Cobra Starship, a pop/punk band, took stage around 10:30 p.m. Cobra Starship is best known for its hits “You Make Me Feel” and “Good Girls Go Bad.”

By around 11 p.m., about 3,000 people were at Calder Plaza downtown for the party. That was less than expected — possibly because of the weather and possibly because of a change in venue for the annual party.

Organizers moved the celebration to Calder Plaza this year, saying the bigger venue would allow them to expand the event and give more room to people enjoying the show.

The move also allowed Monroe Avenue to remain open for traffic, though Ottawa Avenue between Michigan and Lyon streets were closed starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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