Marquette downtown gets ready for New Year’s Eve ball drop

MARQUETTE — Every New Year’s Eve since 1989, Marquette has held a ball drop on a scale much smaller than the famous one at Times Square in New York.

The 26th annual ball drop will take place tomorrow night at the old Savings Bank building at Front and Washington Streets. The Marquette DDA’s fundraising effort to put on the event sometimes comes down to the last minute, but not this time.

“We’ve been really lucky in that the City of Marquette has decided to waive the fees for closing the street; we really appreciate that,” Marquette DDA events and promotions coordinator Tara Laase-McKinney said. “In addition, (the) Marquette Convention and Visitors Bureau has donated money and (is) doing some advertising for it as well.”

The city, and the owners of the Savings Bank building, used to cover all of the costs of the ball drop. The City Commission stopped funding it in 2006 due to tight finances but started funding it again three years ago.

“Just as a reminder, there is not alcohol allowed on the streets,” Laase-McKinney said. “That stays the same every year, and we just want to remind people of that as well, so come on out early. Go to different bars or restaurants. Make an evening of it and have a good time in the downtown area.”

The family-friendly event usually attracts at least 5,000 people. The Marquette Police will keep an eye on the crowds and help move the party safely into the new year.

As part of that effort, some of the downtown streets will be closed to traffic that night. Washington Street from Third to Lakeshore, and Front Street from Main to Bluff, will be off limits to vehicles from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.