Pier Park preps for annual Beach Ball Drop

Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 10:12 AM.

“It’s great to see a kid’s face light up when they get a beach ball,” said Mall Manager Brent Gardner.

The festivities will continue with a countdown celebration featuring live music by local reggae-rock band Heritage and the Rupert’s Orchestra. The New Year will be met with a glowing 800-pound beach ball drop and a second fireworks show.

As the event continues to grow, Gardner said the theatrics have kept up.

To provide a better view for spectators, tonight’s 8 p.m. fireworks will take off from directly above the Beach Ball Drop on Pier Park Drive instead of the Russell-Fields City Pier and the midnight fireworks display will be released in a “domino effect” down Pier Park Drive and finish at the pier.

Pier Park expects to welcome between 40,000 and 60,000 people for the event, which provides a big boon to businesses, Gardner said.

“This is our sixth year holding the event and it’s gotten bigger and bigger every single year,” Gardner said. “Whenever we can hold events here in Panama City Beach it's just good for business overall because you’re drawing people to the area.”

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