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
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
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
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
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
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.