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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pyroball drop to usher in New Year

Dec. 8, 2006

New York has the Times Square Ball drop. Atlanta has the Peach Drop. This New Year's Eve, Columbia residents will have a Pyroball Drop in Courthouse Square to mark the beginning of 2007.

"We're going to have a really good fireworks display, including a pyroball drop," First Night Columbia Director Karen Ramey said. "Last year, Courthouse Square was filled with people for the finale."

A pyroball is a ball of fireworks that will go off at the stroke of midnight, ushering in the new year. First Night Columbia is a non-profit venture that has been occurring for 12 years. Ramey said the event is a private venture, but is sponsored by the city of Columbia, the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, and corporate sponsors.

First Night Columbia consists of several venues in downtown Columbia that will feature food, entertainment and music. Tickets are provided in the form of a button that, when worn, gains an attendee entrance to the venues. Doors at the venues open at 6 p.m. Dec. 31. Ramey said the event is family-oriented and the organizers hope to have something for everyone.

"It's a real mix," she said. "We have a lot of things for children that mainly happen early in the evening, to include a children's finale with fireworks around 9:30. There will be a teen venue with bands and music. For college-age students, it depends on what kind of music you like because we have a wide variety. For adults, we will have all kinds of entertainment. It's a family event, though. Families can come and be comfortable. This is an alcohol-free event, whereas a lot of New Year's festivities are not family-friendly."

Ramey said last year, roughly 12,500 people showed up to First Night Columbia. She said organizers anticipate a turnout of at least 13,000 this year. A new aspect of First Night this year is a discount for those who buy tickets in advance.

"One thing we really want people to know is that if you buy tickets in advance, they're only $8," Ramey said. "They go on sale Monday at various locations and on our Web site. At the door, they're $10. That's new, and we don't want people to be surprised by it."

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