New Year’s Revelry starts in downtown BR this year

New York’s Times Square has its ball for New Year’s Eve, but starting this year, Baton Rouge’s Town Square will have the red stick.

Mayor-President Kip Holden, flanked by event organizers and sponsors, announced the Red Stick Revelry event Wednesday, calling downtown’s North Boulevard Town Square the ideal location for the city’s first major New Year’s Eve event.

The centerpiece of event is the 9-foot, low-energy light sculpture of a red stick attached to an acrylic ring that says “Baton Rouge,” which will be raised into position at noon Dec. 31. The stick will then drop from a 30-foot pole mounted on top of the existing beacon in the center of North Boulevard Town Square just before midnight.

The day will start at noon with activities for children and also feature live music at the new stage in Galvez Plaza.

Although it wasn’t mentioned in the news conference, event organizer Rannah Gray said afterward that fireworks are planned.

“That’s the plan. We have it in the budget, but there has to be some more fundraising,” Gray said.

Paul Arrigo, president and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge, said Red Stick Revelry will be come a “destination event.”

‘We’re going to flood this place,” he said.

Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, said Wednesday that when Holden called him for help, the decision was a no-brainer.

“It sounded like a hell of a party,” Graves said.

The red stick light sculpture was designed by Sarah Powell of Compose Digital Design and it will be manufactured by GibKo, a custom manufacturer of LED signs and lights. The red stick will be installed in Town Square in December and removed after New Year’s Day when it will be placed in storage for the next holiday season.

No taxpayer money will be used for the event.

The mayor said over the last year, Town Square has been the scene of parties, weddings, marriage proposals, festivals and community events. “Town Square is a place where people come together,” said Holden, who also took his oath of office for his third term as mayor-president at Town Square.

In addition to Raising Cane’s and Visit Baton Rouge, other sponsors are Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel, Mockler Beverage, Last In Concepts, Hollingsworth Richards Ford and Richards Honda.

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