Rolling In To The New Year

You’ve probably never heard of Adolph Ochs—and honestly, why would you? Counting down the final seconds of 1907, Adolph started one of the most watched and time-honored traditions, the New Year’s Eve ball drop.

One hundred fifteen years later, the good people of ACDI and the City of Benton have followed in Adolph’s footsteps by planning a New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Bash in Benton to welcome 2023.

Like most traditions, it all started with an idea. Jennifer Bagwell, manager of people and culture at ACDI, recalls, “[The idea] was actually a combination of the City and ACDI, specifically, our CEO Josh Lane. Josh loves this community, and he wanted to have a family-friendly event to celebrate the New Year in town. When we went to the city, they were having similar thoughts about a celebration. We are excited to ring in the New Year with our neighbors.”

Matt Thibault, head of marketing/special events for the City of Benton, feels the partnership with ACDI makes good sense. “The City of Benton is happy to partner with ACDI for this Ball Drop event. The City puts on numerous events each year, so to be able to be a part of an event without having to lead the way is a welcomed break. ACDI has done an amazing job with the planning and organization for this event. We hope that the weather is perfect and encourage all families to come out and take part in this family-friendly evening.”

New Year’s Eve will bring an evening filled with entertainment, food, and fun.

“The event begins at 5 p.m., Saturday, December 31st at ACDI Headquarters at 403 N Main Street in Benton,” says Bagwell. “The event will feature a large kids’ area with a rock-climbing wall, bouncy house, and inflatable obstacle course. There will also be an adult games area with bags, giant Jenga, and other games. We are welcoming six food trucks and a beer and wine truck that will be available throughout the evening.

“There will be no lack of live entertainment, as well. Jettway Performance Bands will provide music beginning at 5 p.m., with the Zac Dunlap Band headlining at 8 p.m. Between sets and leading up to the exciting ball drop, Crown Entertainment will provide additional music and light shows. Midnight will culminate with a thrilling light show, live music, the ball countdown and drop, and New Year fireworks.”

Thibault says the City will place “police officers in and around the event to ensure safety as people come and go from the ACDI campus. The City will also be providing advertising and promotions using our resources and social media outlets.”

Bagwell says the final moments of 2022 will mark the climax of the event. “We have a 3-foot lit and bedecked ball that will hang from the top of a 100-foot fire truck boom. At midnight, we will celebrate with a laser show, music, ball drop, and fireworks.” The fire truck is being provided by the City of Benton.

In addition to the fun and games, this event is also an opportunity to support kids in Saline County. “ACDI is honored to also be partnering with an amazing organization right here in Benton: Bright Futures. We will be collecting monetary donations and a percentage of all food sales will go to support kids who need assistance in our community,” Bagwell said.

Additional sponsors include Alcoa Federal Credit Union, JTS Financial, Malvern National Bank, Simmons Bank, Brian & Leslie Black, First Security, McLarty Nissan, Everett Dealerships, McCauley’s Services, Merchants Bank, ReMax Elite, Roberson & Associates, State Farm Insurance, First National Title, Woolbright and Associates, The Manor of Benton, Midtown Plumbing, Hurricane Creek Federal Credit Union, and Hope Consulting Engineers. 

Both ACDI and the City of Benton hope this event becomes as much of a tradition as the Times Square party. 

Thibault says, “Our hope is that with ACDI and the other sponsors of this event we can be a trendsetter and really give the citizens of Benton and surrounding areas a great time and a memorable way to ring in the New Year.”

So, when the ball drops, raise a glass and celebrate the hope of a bright year to come with your friends and family in downtown Benton.