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Ring in the new year in downtown Kokomo

12/29/2016

With New Year’s Eve falling on a Saturday, it’s going to be even more of a party this year! And when the clock strikes midnight, downtown Kokomo will be the place to ring in the new year.

The Greater Kokomo Downtown Association invites residents, guests and families to celebrate the closing of another year on the Courthouse Square on New Year’s Eve. The annual event will be 10:30 p.m. to midnight and will feature the annual ball drop and fireworks.

Some downtown establishments will be open to provide food, beverages and entertainment for revelers, but the celebration officially begins at 10:30 p.m. with a music and light stage show by X-Sight Music.

“We encourage people to make a plan to gather early at one of our downtown establishments and then celebrate the new year with their friends and watch the ball drop on the square,” said Susan Alexander, manager of the Greater Kokomo Downtown Association.

At 11 p.m., Kokomo High School’s TechnoKats Robotics Team will light the 32,000-bulb ball, which can display more than 4,000 colors and is powered completely by solar energy. Kokomo-based clean energy company Green Alternatives Inc. will supply the solar energy collection that will power the lighted ball. At 11:59 p.m., the ball will begin its descent – and, after a countdown into the New Year, guests will be treated to a fireworks display from the Howard County Courthouse roof.

Sponsored by the Greater Kokomo Downtown Association, the festivities will be centered at the corner of Sycamore and Main streets. Revelers are encouraged to wear a festive, funny, glamorous or crazy party hat.

History of the lighted ball drop in Kokomo:

• 1998: The downtown association invited the TechnoKats to make a New York-style lighted ball to lower at midnight from the roof of Kokomo’s tallest building — the six-story Armstrong Landon building.

• 2004: A neon sign indicating the new year was installed at the bottom of the descent track.

• 2005: A second-generation lighted ball was designed and built. It contained more than 30,000 LEDs in 240 separate triangular panels, with each controllable to produce more than 4,000 different colors. It contains 60 individual microprocessors with a main computer to execute the colors and animated patterns. It remains in use today.

• 2008: A countdown clock was added so event guests could synchronize their countdown.

• 2012: The ball started using solar power donated by Green Alternatives Inc.

• 2015: Lights rewired to allow for more intricate designs and control of the patterns across the entire ball surface.