WILSON – The sixth annual “’Lil Apple Family Ball Drop” is planned for 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Wilson Fire Company No. 1 Fire Hall, 4194 Chestnut Road.
Sponsored by the Wilson Business and Professional Association, the event will feature a disc jockey spinning tunes for two hours, giving guests a chance to take to the dance floor, as well as try their hand, or rather voice, at karaoke.
The business association will sell glow sticks and provide hats and noisemakers. In addition, the Wilson Community Food Pantry will have pop and water for sale, while the First Baptist Church of Wilson sells snacks. Boy Scout Troop 67 will have hot chocolate and coffee for sale.
“The Wilson Lions Club helps us immensely with this,” said Jeanine Johnson, business association secretary.
Wilson Lions Club President Bernie Leiker said he has more than a dozen volunteers ready to help.
“We are one of the few communities left in Western New York who still does this,” said Leiker, who is also mayor of the Village of Wilson. “It’s a really nice event for the children and their parents.”
At 9 p.m., the party moves outside for the much-anticipated ball drop, or as Leiker explained “apple drop” as Wilson farms are known for their apple production. A lucky person will be chosen to turn on the lights that decorate the apple before it makes it descent. In addition, people will be chosen to hold up the signs for the countdown leading to the year 2014.
“We get hundreds of people for this,” said Leiker. “It’s really a big event.”
The emcee will be Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey, R-Wilson, and the crane and driver will be supplied by Clark Rigging of Lockport.
The Clark family started the midnight ball drop many years ago, and Steve Clark of the Wilson Lions Club carries on the family tradition.
As the clock nears midnight, the adults return to the fire company parking lot for the second ball drop of the evening, also courtesy of Clark Rigging, ringing in the year 2014.
Elsewhere in Niagara County, the North Tonawanda Common Council gave its approval two weeks ago to revive the Gateway Harbor New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, thanks to an infusion of cash and volunteers from the Rotary Club of the Tonawandas. The City of Tonawanda Fire Department will lend its ladder truck and drop the ball in a new location, directly over the Erie Canal, allowing for viewing along the canal in both cities. Fireworks will follow to welcome in the new year.