Ring In the New Year At the Pensacola Pelican Drop

pelican drop
Ring In the New Year At the Pensacola Pelican Drop
By: Kelly Woodard

Whether you’re in New York watching the ball drop or hitting the town with friends, everyone loves New Year’s Eve. Be a part of a Gulf Coast tradition at the Annual Pensacola Pelican Drop this Tuesday, December 31st in Downtown Pensacola.
Hosted by the Downtown Improvement Board (DIB), the streets will be filled with revelers from across the country counting down to 2014 with the Gulf Coast’s most unique New Year’s icon, a giant illuminated pelican.
Throughout the evening, the Pelican, which is 14 feet tall, with a 20-foot wingspan, will be perched above the celebration on a 100-foot platform at the intersection of Palafox and Government Streets. The celebration’s high point will be the giant illuminated pelican descending at the stroke of midnight amidst fireworks and confetti.
DIB Organizers have also expanded the Kids’ area and feature a unique, kids' countdown at 8 pm with copious amounts of confetti, and the incredibly fun and humorous, "bubble stomp."
Mayor Ashton Hayward directed the DIB to run with the program based on its successful promotion and management of other events for the city including the highly touted Gallery Night. “This is a fantastic celebration for the entire family. Kids, Parents, Grandparents and Great-Grandparents can join hands and sing in the New Year with us,” said Terri Kuvach, Special Events Coordinator for DIB. And best of all? All concerts and events are free.”
Festivities begin at 5 pm with three big stages full of live entertainment all night long. Beginning at 5:30 pm on the main stage is Characters on the Go followed by the Bubble Stomp at 7:45 pm and the Raising of the Pelican at 8 pm. Then the music gets cranked up at 8:15 pm with Antoine Knight, a talented sax player and band leader whose classic alto-driven funk and bluesy keyboard harmonies will have you dancing in the streets.
Then at 9:45pm, join Blend & DJ, an a cappela doo-wop group bringing back hits from the 50’s and 60’s with a twist of fun. Then at 10:45 pm join Mojeaux, one of New Orleans’ diverse and energetic party experience consisting of repertoire of R&B, Motown, Oldies, Top 40, Rock, Hip Hop, Funk and disco hits.
Over on the North Stage, the music gets kicked off with Big Jim Brown and the Speed Kings, a band with a raw, gritty sound from which American rock-n-roll was born. Then at 8:50 pm join Dew Pendleton & UR Friends, an energetic band with a unique sound that is crafted by the honesty of country, the soul of gospel, and the sheer fun of rock. At 10:50 pm, Timberhawk takes the stage. A five piece rock/indie/folk outfit, Timberhawk’s songs feature catchy melodies with beefy grooves and ballsy solos, and a vibe that goes back to the 1960s and punches it in the mouth.
The Pelican will descend from his perch at the stroke of midnight, and will be followed by the New Year’s Eve Fireworks display on Palafox Street.
In year’s past, more than 50,000 revelers rang in the new year at the Pelican Drop, and Southern Living Magazine included the event in their December 2010 issue as one of the must see events of the year.
Here are some valuable tips if you are thinking about heading out to the Pelican Drop.
• Street closures will begin the morning of December 31st, and will continue throughout the night. Avoid downtown streets if possible.
• Arrive early for the best view of the Pelican. Some of the best spots fill up by early evening.
• Local bars and restaurants will be open for food and beverages. No coolers will be allowed.
• Be ready for large crowds. Over 25,000 people are expected to be on Palafox Street when the Pelican drops.
• No animals will be allowed unless they are certified service animals.
• Check the weather and dress appropriately. With such large crowds it may be difficult to leave your spot and return if you need to get a sweater from your car.
For more information, visit www.downtownpensacola.com or contact 850-434-5371.