GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The joint was jammin'.
A huge crowd watched the New Year's Ball drop in Rosa ParksCircle, as the Aughts passed into history and 2010 began.
Downtown Grand Rapids teemed with revelers intent on ringing inthe second decade of the 21st Century, a decade most hoped would bebetter than the Aughts.
Roads were clogged with both traffic and pedestrians. The barsand clubs were overflowing, the Griffins played their annual New Year'sEve game in front of a large crowd. (OK, they lost 7-3 to Hamilton.But it was fun.)
Parking was at a premium. And the temperature was cold.
But that didn't stop a crowd expected to be between 30,000 -50,000 to fill the area around Rosa Parks Circle for the second annual New Year's Ball Drop.
Once the ball dropped, though, the crowd quickly dispersed. By 1a.m. the area was mostly empty, though the bars remained open.
Music began at 5:30 p.m. when Priscilla Renea opened. The warmly-dressed crowdgrew larger during her set, and they were in full-throttle by thetime Boys Like Girls and, later, Uncle Kracker took the stage.
It's the second year this event, sponsored by Citadel Radio's Hot FM , will feature freemusic and a ball drop. Only this year, the organizers know more ofwhat to expect, and they've made it bigger.
The most visible upgrade, literally, is the giant ball that willbe lowered from a 250' crane at midnight. The ball has 448 halogenlights, has a diameter of 6'2", newly reinforced with steel rodsand light bulbs that will burn longer.
Citadel's Matt Hanlon told 24 Hour News 8 the crowd last yearwas between 10,000 - 20,000, but they clearly expect a much biggercrowd for this event. Storm Team 8 forecasts evening temperatures inthe 20s with a light wind.
Some streets around Rosa Parks Circle were closed beginning at 4p.m. Thursday through the clean up on Friday.
There was free parking in DASH lots 7-8-9 (west of the GrandRiver), and free shuttle buses ran between 5:30 p.m. - 2:30a.m.
There were no free cab rides offered this year.
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