Carving a new tradition for UpTown Toledo

Village on Adams plans to have a ball — and a party — this New Year’s Eve

By Lauren Lindstrom, Blade Staff Writer

UpTown Toledo will ring in 2015 with a new tradition. In addition to the party favors and bubbly, party-goers on Adams Street will be treated to a ball drop at midnight.

Hosting the party is Village on Adams, a neighborhood group made up of stakeholders on Adams Street dedicated to promoting the area and its businesses. Money raised at the events goes into funding the next one, as well as other street and neighborhood improvements.

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Artist Anthony McCarty is in charge of the project, with the support of downtown studio Graphite Design + Build. The ball is a 4-foot Styrofoam sphere, shaved down from 16-inch cubes and glued together. Between now and New Year’s Eve, it will be hollowed out, painted gold, and decked out with lights. It will be hoisted up a 30-foot metal structure and dropped to usher in the New Year. In all, he estimates he’ll put in between 40 and 50 hours of work before Wednesday night. He’s designing and troubleshooting as he goes, he said, working right up until the big night to make sure all goes according to plan.

Mr. McCarty, who describes himself as a jack-of-all-trades artist whose works include sculptures, woodworking, and paintings, was approached to build the ball by the event organizers. He’s been involved with Village on Adams for years, he said, both when he managed the Ottawa Tavern and as an artist. Mr. McCarty also had another important skill on his resume; he’d built a Styrofoam sphere once before.

Mr. McCarty said he’s seen the development of the downtown and arts districts since moving to Toledo in 2008. Village on Adams events keep growing larger, he said.

“I’ve been watching this grow. This is our place where we like to hang out,” he said. “We’re building a nice, powerful community of talented people.”

The countdown will happen before midnight on the corner of Adams and 17th streets, in the heart of the group’s district.

Mr. McCarty, along with a team from the Village on Adams board, will be the ones to handle the mechanics of the ball drop, which will be lowered by a pulley system.

As with the group’s previous parties, including this year’s Halloween Zombie Crawl, participating bars will be The Attic, Bretz, Manhattan’s, The Ottawa Tavern, and Wesley’s.

“The goal is to attract more people to the neighborhood,” said Zach Lahey, Village on Adams treasurer. It’s only the beginning, he said, adding they hope to go bigger and brighter for New Year’s Eve parties to come.

“We’re not trying to compete with Times Square,” Mr. Lahey said, “but it’s a start.”

The event begins at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve. Admission is cash only, costs $10 for those 21 and older, and includes cover fees to participating bars, live DJ, champagne toast, and a view of the ball drop.