Wetumpka is gearing up for tonight’s annual New Year’s festivities complete with live entertainment, fireworks and a flaming meteorite. According to event organizer Gardner Perdue, now in his 11th year at the helm of the event, the celebration was started about three decades ago by Wetumpka resident Jack DeVenney.
The event starts at 9 p.m. with a ceremony for soldiers listed as prisoners of war or missing in action at the flag display in front of the old Elmore County Courthouse.
Also at 9 p.m., Perdue said live music by the Good Time Band will begin inside the Wetumpka Civic Center.
Tonya Moore from Wetumpka Line Dance will then teach people how to dance.
The band will come back out to perform as Moore and the audience line dance.
Instead of a ball dropping, Wetumpka gives a nod to its prehistoric roots by sending a fiery “meteor” down a zip line.
Perdue said it takes 14 seconds for the “meteor” to travel 300 feet to the end of the zip line which will signal the ignition of fireworks at midnight. The fireworks typically last between 12 and 15 minutes.
Perdue said the best place to get a good view of the fireworks will be behind the city’s administration building located next to the civic center, but people can get a view from Wind Creek Casino to Bibb Graves Bridge.
“Jack thought this would be a great way of ringing in the New Year,” Purdue said.
Perdue said the event typically draws a few thousand people, but attendance the past few years was lower due to weather.
“This is a family program, so bring your kids,” he said. “We are not offering concessions this year so people can bring their own drinks and food. This is just a fun event for Wetumpka.”