Island of Lights Committee president shares beach ball history

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A more than 20-year Pleasure Island tradition will add another year this Thursday night. The giant beach ball will drop to welcome in 2016 on Carolina Beach. And there is an interesting history behind this New Year’s tradition.

It started with a group of volunteers from Carolina Beach and Kure Beach wanting to give people something to do between November and January 1st. Years later the Island of Lights Committee is keeping up their New Year’s tradition of throwing a beach party and dropping a beach ball to welcome the new year.

Frances Massey, president of the Island of Lights Committee, said they began dropping a ball for New Year’s on Pleasure Island a little more than 20 years ago.

“Over the years we’ve tried to get it to look more like a beach ball,” said Massey.

Massey said it took them awhile to get their New Year’s Beach Ball all just right.

“When we first started this and had our first New Year’s Eve count down, we called it a ball, it was made out of PVC pipe, chicken wire and garland,” said Massey.

Massey said local students actually helped make first ball. She adds the first drop didn’t go quite as planned.

“That first ball didn’t succeed that well because when the fire men dropped it the kids thought candy was in it so they just destroyed what the ball was,” said Massey.

As Carolina Beach fire fighters prepare this year’s ball you can tell the ball has come a long way.

And with another New Year’s celebration coming up Massey said she just hopes the party continues to grow.

“So I hope it can actually get bigger, I hope more people can come out to enjoy it,” said Massey.

The Island of Lights’ ball drop will be Thursday night at the Carolina Beach boardwalk just before midnight but the party gets started at 9 p.m. with music and dancing.

Categories: Community, Local, New Hanover

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