Originally Published: December 29, 2016 8:45 p.m.
PRESCOTT – In keeping with its setting on historic Whiskey Row, the traditional Prescott “boot” will drop once again to kick-start the New Year.
Set to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, the sixth annual Whiskey Row New Year’s Eve Boot Drop will feature all of the favorites from its previous five years, along with a few new features.
Matt Brassard, owner of M&M Entertainment and Productions and an organizer of the Boot Drop, says the event will include two showings, one at 10 p.m., and another at midnight – both featuring the brightly-lit 6-foot cowboy boot sliding down the flagpole on the top of the Palace building on Whiskey Row.
The boot, which is lowered manually through a system of ropes and pulleys, will commemorate the countdown to the start of 2017.
Brassard and fellow M&M Entertainment owner and Boot Drop organizer Marco Espitia says the two showings offer a choice for attendees – the 10 p.m. event for those who prefer to have an earlier night; and the midnight showing, which offers the traditional countdown to New Year’s Day.
Both rounds will include a fireworks display, launched from the top floor of the downtown parking garage. Brassard says the 10 p.m. round will feature about five minutes of fireworks, while the midnight showing will come with an eight-minute display.
Espitia notes that the fireworks are meant to accentuate the Boot Drop, which is the main event of the evening. “The fireworks are in addition to the boot,” he said.
Each of the showings brings in an estimated 4,000 people, Brassard and Espitia say, with much of the street along Whiskey Row and the adjacent Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza typically filled with celebrants.
Whiskey Row (Montezuma Street) from Gurley to Goodwin will shut down at 3 p.m., and the evening is set to begin at 8 p.m., when Espitia and Leza Dandos of Magic 99.1 Radio will take to the portable stage on Whiskey Row as masters of ceremony. The program will include a DJ playing music, as well as games that interact with the crowd.
Along with all of the traditional features, this year’s event also is slated to include some new activities, including the possibility of a Ferris wheel, which will be set up – weather permitting – on Whiskey Row near Goodwin Street. (Brassard says freezing rain and snow could prevent the Ferris wheel from setting up.) Also new this year will be performances of fire dancers in front of the stage.
Helping to set the ambiance along Whiskey Row will be six bonfires, where attendees can warm up on the winter night.
While the evening is free to attendees, vendors will be hand with a choice of refreshments and entertainment – such as hot chocolate and kettle corn available for purchase, and the Annie Thing Goes food truck on hand, with choices including cheeseburgers, pulled pork, crab cakes, and a black bean/rice wrap.
In addition, a shooting gallery and horse-and-buggy rides will be available.
Brassard and Espitia say that parking will be available in the first four levels of the Granite Street parking garage, as well as on the surrounding downtown streets, which will remain open (other than the one-block section of Whiskey Row), and at the nearby Depot Marketplace shopping center on Sheldon Street.