No New Years Ball Drop This Year in Downtown Sac

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Why no downtown Sacramento ball drop to bring in 2010? Ask restaurateur Randy Paragary:
Paragary: "Well, we're sort of a victim of our own success from last year."
See, when Paragary and other organizers pulled together the event at the last minute, they expected a couple thousand people to show up. Instead …
Crowd: "Three, two, one …" (sounds of loud cheers and horns honking)
Try 20,000. The six off-duty police officers hired as private security were no match for a crowd that at times pushed, shoved, and snarled traffic. This time around, Paragary says there was a better plan: in addition to hiring 10 times more security…
Paragary: "We were going to do more of a New York City-style model, where they put people in areas - they put barricades and create pens, and color-code wristbands, and therefore be able to control the number of people per block."
But all that costs money. And in this economy, without a solid stream of revenue like selling tickets or alcohol, Paragary says the event just wasn't financially feasible. Still, he says, city officials would love to host what would be the West Coast's only ball drop - and Paragary says they've told him to apply for a pot of available money for 2010.
Paragary: "We just weren't able to do it in time for 2009. But we are on their wavelength for this event for next year. And I'm pretty sure it's gonna happen."
That money would have to come at the expense of the longstanding Old Sacramento fireworks show. Melissa Martinez with the Old Sacramento Business Association says that could force her group to raise private money in the future. But, she says, the capital region is big enough for two celebrations.
Martinez: "What we saw last year and what we can expect in future years is, there are gonna be a multiple of special events for people to choose from. And I think our city's large enough and diverse enough to support all of those."
In the meantime, Old Sac will have the stage to itself to close out 2009. Martinez says the family friendly 9:00 show always draws big crowds - and without any competition, she expects more people this year for the midnight show.