HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg will bring in the New Year with the first ever ball drop in downtown.
Barricades have been set up and signs all over downtown remind people that Front Street and Main Street and parts of Mobile Street and Pine Street will be closed for what organizers call a historic event for Hattiesburg.
“It’s going to be the best one yet. I’m looking forward to the best year, 2019, yet, as well,” said Tom White, owner of Bianchi’s Pizzeria in downtown Hattiesburg.
City officials are calling the event the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration the city has seen.
“The dropping of the ball has been a New Year’s tradition since 1907 when it was first done in New York City, and in the last decade or two we’ve seen some of our regional cities do some things,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “I know New Orleans and Mobile, and now Hattiesburg will add its name to the list of cities that do a dropping of the ball at midnight.”
Executive Director of Downtown Hattiesburg Andrea Saffle said the plans to have the ball drop have been in the making for years and it’s not only to benefit the residents but the businesses downtown as well.
“This is obviously to drive people into the businesses, but it’s also about creating, kind of Hattiesburg’s own identity in having our own event so you don’t have to go to the coast or New Orleans or Mobile for a signature New Year’s eve countdown,” said Saffle.
WDAM asked Barker what symbol was going to be dropping at midnight, though he would not reveal it.
I think it’s a symbol most Hattiesburgers will recognize," Barker said.