February 26 • 12:49 PM

'Sky's the limit' for DDA snowball drop

Imlay Director hopes for a repeat in light of successful event at park

More than 200 bargain seekers scramble for 500-plus ping pong balls dropped from a ladder truck by Imlay City firefighters on Friday night. The retrieved ping pong balls could be redeemed for prizes at downtown businesses. photo by Tom Wearing.

December 12, 2007
IMLAY CITY — With a stark, black December sky as the backdrop, around 200 people looked skyward Friday evening in anticipation of the Downtown Development Authority's first-ever Snowball Drop.

The surreal setting resembled a futuristic scene out of a Ridley Scott movie, as an eerily-lit fire truck positioned itself behind a snow hill at Lamb-Steele Park and extended its ladder to full height, while firefighters climbed to the top.

After reaching the pinnacle, the firefighters dropped more than 500 snowballs (in the form of ping pong balls) onto the waiting throng below.

In a matter of seconds, the crowd (many of them children) swarmed toward the fallen ping pong balls, quickly snatching up as many as they could grasp in their eager hands.

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Each of the balls had been marked, indicating free items and special discounts available at one of the more than 20 businesses taking part in the DDA promotion.

The collected balls could be redeemed that evening or on any Friday between 5-8 p.m. through Dec. 21.

The Snowball Drop was held in conjunction with a month-long sales campaign to boost downtown businesses during the Christmas season.

While optimistic in advance of the event, DDA Director Brad Barrett said he was pleasantly surprised by Friday's turnout.

"A lot of people showed up and we were very happy about that," said Barrett. "The weather was ideal, and we're very appreciative for the efforts of the firefighters who volunteered their time."

Barrett acknowledged Fire Chief Kip Reaves and fellow firefighters Chuck Boadway, Andrew Kustowski, Tony Zapella and Scott Stone for their efforts.

Based on the success of the inaugural Snowball Drop, Barrett believes it's an event that should be repeated in the future.

"We're (the DDA Board) going to be discussing it at our next meeting," he said. "I think we can organize it better next time, but it has unlimited potential to grow."

Staff Writer
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