Bringing down the year in style
Charlevoix bridge drop (December 28, 2012)
As its name implies, the event will culminate shortly before midnight New Year's Eve with raising Memorial Bridge (Charlevoix's well-known drawbridge on U.S. 31) and dropping it, timed to close at the stroke of midnight. But the event is planned to actually be a weekend full of special events in the community starting today, Friday, Dec. 28.
The event's creators Rick Randall and Amanda Wilkin said the event is intended to draw people from near and far to the community to enjoy its many offerings and an opportunity for the community to gather together to celebrate.
One of the key elements of the event will be the sale of wristbands for $5 that will give purchasers special privileges at participating locations around town during the weekend. Proceeds from the wristband sales will be used to offset costs of the event and to create a pool of seed money for next year's event.
Although the list of participating businesses was still growing at press time, the wristbands will get purchasers special discounts at area merchants and other benefits such as a free group ski lesson at Mount McSauba on New Year's Eve, a deck party at the Weathervane Restaurant and a beach party at the Charlevoix Community Pool on Sunday, Dec. 30. The BASES Teen Center organization will host a showing of the movie "The Frontier Boys" (which was filmed largely in the Charlevoix Area) on New Year's Eve. Doors for the movie will open at 8:30 p.m. with admission set at $3 for those with bracelets, and $5 for those without them.
Organizers said the Charlevoix Elks Club will be open to the public noon-close Saturday through Monday, Dec. 29-31, and serve as a center of events for the weekend where wristbands can be purchased. Bracelets will also be available at Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce, Randall Chiropractic, Ace Hardware, Charlevoix State Bank, Stafford's Weathervane Restaurant, Fox Motors, Clothing Company and Elements.
Like the ball drop in Times Square, the event will culminate at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, when the drawbridge will be raised and then lowered to coincide with the arrival of the new year at midnight. Starting at about 11:30 p.m., the deck at the Weathervane will have DJ Nikki Lee and serve as the center of the ceremonies leading up to midnight, Wilkin said.
Once the bridge is back down, organizers are planning a short, but noisy parade across the bridge. The parade will include emergency vehicles with lights and sirens going and a float carrying members of the Charlevoix schools class of 2013. Parade participants will carry sparklers and plans are in the works for some kind military-style ceremonial firearms salute. The organizers have also asked that the city's emergency siren atop city hall be activated at midnight.
Wilkin said the whole idea of the event is to draw people to the downtown and create excitement about the event and the community. She said that she and Randall are hopeful that this year's event serves as a catalyst to bigger and better events in coming years, that eventually an organization might be willing to take on.
For more information on the event, including a complete listing of events and participating businesses visit www.bridgedrop.com, or call Wilkin at (231) 547-2101.