Grand Rapids NYE celebration moved to accommodate thousands more

Posted at 2:16 PM, Dec 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-30 17:42:29-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --Marcus Bradman organized the very first New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Grand Rapids and now, nearly a decade later, the event has exploded and moved to its third location: Calder Plaza.

"Seven years ago, we came up with this idea to create this crazy notion of doing a New Year's Eve ball drop. When people heard about the idea, they're like 'It's Michigan, it's cold. We're not doing it.' We're like, 'Hey, they do it in New York. Michigan can't be that much different,'"Bradman said.

This year's event is expected to host nearly 40,000 people. That's nearly four times more than the first year. Tuesday crews were hard at work in Calder Plaza hammering together all the pieces to host the large crowd.

"It's a pretty big undertaking, a lot of people, a lot of help, lots of equipment," said Paul Winkler, owner of Corporate Sound, the company putting together the stage.

That crew of about 30 people will put in over 50 hours of work over the next three days to build, operate and tear down the stage, TVs and speakers.

"This first day, today, would be about a 10 hour day for them, out in the cold here, tomorrow would be early in the morning until the end of the show. It's probably going to be an 18 hour day and then the load out of course which would probably be another 8 hour day, 10 hour day," Winkler said.

Although the crews will put in a lot of work for the 2015 celebration, Bradman says the long days will be worth the improved atmosphere.

"I think it's easier just to get them up on the plaza. When we had it over on Monroe Avenue and even over on Rosa Park's Circle, there was always limitations of entry way that we could get people up to the concert stage," Bradman said. "Here we have multiple entry points that we can get them up to and like I said if they want to step out, go get a hot chocolate or go get something to eat, they easily can step away and come back, where before there were limitations to that."

You can tweet #HotNewYearsEve throughout the night for a chance to see your tweet on the big screens. You can also post a selfie to the Hot 105 Facebook for a chance to win a 55 inch television.