Redlands Visitor Center will ring in the new year at the stroke of midnight, London time — 4 p.m. Saturday Dec. 31, at Ed Hales Park. Celebrate the coming year from 3:30 to 5 p.m. with activities, entertainment, and refreshments at the free family friendly event.
The countdown peaks at 4 p.m. when 100 inflated beach balls will be released on the crowd, and the participants aim to keep the balls bouncing overhead for as long as possible.
Dianna Lawson, Mansion Memories executive director and Redlands Conservancy Ambassador, suggested beach balls as a safe and fun way to express the excitement of the new year and the idea was carried out at the first event in 2021. Lawson is a volunteer at the Visitor Center and saw the interactive idea on social media. The event receives the clear beach balls filled with orange confetti as a donation from Alta Vista Credit Union.
There will be a wishing wall where visitors can write their goals for the new year. Entertainment includes a live performance by Mel Cole, a legendary Las Vegas Al Green impersonator, and DJ Inner Jamm Entertainment.
The community will offer fun activities including face painting by Paint and Twist and a variety of games will be hosted by Board Game Paradise.
Kids will also have the opportunity to learn about gardening with a planting activity hosted by Sprout and Blossom.
Take photos with friends and family to commemorate the event and closure of 2022 at the Insta Selfie Photobooth. Raffles will take place throughout the event, with prizes including a valuable custom leather luggage set.
The Beach Ball Drop had its first run in 2021 when the Redlands Visitor Center had the idea to host a convenient, family friendly gathering for Redlands residents.
Last year, due to a power outage, the event was relocated to Ed Hales Park, but regardless turned out a success with around 200 people in attendance. “This year I expect more people,” said Deborah O’Hara, president of the board for the Redlands Visitor Center nonprofit organization.
The Visitor Center makes this event possible through grants and donors. O’Hara is hoping that in the next year the Visitor Center will be able to merge with the city.
Opening seven months before the pandemic made it difficult for the center which functions with no federal or city funding to open .
“One mission is to create family friendly events and give people something to do,” O’Hara said.