Originally Published: December 29, 2016 6:27 a.m.
PRESCOTT – Now in its sixth year, the Whiskey Row New Year’s Eve Boot Drop is firmly entrenched in Prescott’s holiday line-up.
The event, which offers a festive outdoor venue for ringing in the New Year, regularly attracts as many as 8,000 people to downtown Prescott – about 4,000 at each of the two Boot Drop showings, which occur at 10 p.m., and at midnight.
This year’s program is set to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and will feature all of the favorites from previous years, as well as a few new activities.
IF YOU GO
Program begins at 8 p.m.
Two boot drops, 10 p.m. and midnight
The block of Whiskey Row from Gurley to Goodwin will be shut down at 3 p.m. Saturday to allow for the Boot Drop’s set-up. The city’s portable stage will be placed on Whiskey Row, and will be the center of the program, which will feature masters of ceremony Marco Espitia of M&M Entertainment and Productions and Leza Dandos of Magic 99.1 Radio, and games that interact with the crowd.
Fireworks at both drops will be set off from parking garage roof.
For instance, organizer Matt Brassard of M&M Entertainment and Productions says he hopes that the Boot Drop will have a Ferris wheel this year.
“Weather permitting, we will have a Ferris wheel on Whiskey Row, behind the portable stage,” Brassard said, noting that freezing rain and/or snow on Saturday could prevent the Ferris wheel from setting up.
The block of Whiskey Row from Gurley to Goodwin streets will be shut down at 3 p.m. Saturday to allow for the Boot Drop’s set-up. The city’s portable stage will be placed on Whiskey Row, and will be the center of the program, which will feature masters of ceremony Marco Espitia of M&M Entertainment and Productions and Leza Dandos of Magic 99.1 Radio, and games that interact with the crowd.
In addition, the evening will include a DJ playing music, fire dancers in front of the stage, six bonfire locations on Whiskey Row, and fireworks at both boot-drop rounds – to be set off from the fifth floor the nearby Granite Street parking garage.
While the boot drop and related entertainment are free, the event will also will include vendors offering refreshments for purchase, including hot chocolate, kettle corn, and a variety of sandwich and wrap offerings from the Annie Thing Goes food truck.
DID YOU KNOW?
• A combination of Styrofoam, resin, and fiberglass sheeting, the boot weighs about 80 pounds.
• A rechargeable marine battery powers the lights that decorate the boot and spur.
• The boot was hollowed out to form a one-by-two-foot hole to hold the battery and electrical connections.
• The boot is dropped through a system of ropes, brackets and wheels.
• On New Year’s Eve, the boot is operated manually by a team of four people on the roof of the Palace building – with the help of a harness and carabiners.
• About 20 people make up the entire team that pulls off the Boot Drop event.
• It takes about an hour and a half to install the boot on the roof of the Palace building.
• The boot drops about 32 feet down the flagpole.
• The lights are powered by remote control, as the boot drops during the New Year’s Eve countdown.
• In 2013, the Los Angeles Times listed the Whiskey Row Boot Drop as one of the “oddball counterparts” to the New York Times Square ball drop.
Prescott’s New Year’s Eve countdown dates back to about 2010, when local graphic artist Stephan Markov of Morgan Sign Co. was approached by Tracey Horn of Helken & Horn Advertising Agency with a design request. “They had an idea for a boot, and she challenged me to make one,” Markov recalls.
To determine the appropriate size of the boot, Markov said tubes were extended from the flagpole on the top of the Palace building on Whiskey Row. “We decided that 6 feet high was more or less perfect,” he said.
Markov says the boot was designed and custom-made using Styrofoam, resin, and fiberglass sheeting. “It’s very similar to a boat hull,” he said of the boot’s construction.
The finished boot was hollowed out to make space for a battery and electrical connections. It was then equipped with two separate circuits and a remote control to allow for a variety of lights as the boot drops down the flagpole during the New Year’s Eve countdown. “As soon as it touches (the rooftop), the stars and the spur lights come on,” Markov said.
Brassard and Espitia say parking will be available in the first four levels of the Granite Street parking garage, as well as on 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.
The best place to watch the Boot Drop and fireworks is from the street along Whiskey Row, or from the adjacent Courthouse Plaza, Brassard and Espitia say. Attendees tend to fill the street, joining in on the countdown as the boot drops.
M&M Entertainment and Productions puts on the Boot Drop with the help of multiple sponsors.