PRESCOTT- Tracey Horn of Helken and Horn Advertising Agency Inc. moved to Prescott after attending college at the University of Arizona. She used to live out east and spent New Year’s Eve like millions of other people in that part of the county-at Times Square in New York City ringing in the New Year by watching the famous ball drop.
Horn noticed Prescott didn’t have much going on following the Christmas festivities and thought something new should be added. She worked on an interim basis with the City of Prescott Tourism Department at the time and was looking for new ideas, events and advertising opportunities.
Horn was known for taking chances and brought sponsors the idea of a “Boot-Drop”-which was originally pictured as a “horseshoe-drop” but decided a boot would better represent Prescott.
“They laughed and thought it was a fun idea and went forward and supported it,” Horn said in an interview. “By raising money through our client base, and then it kind of expanded out to other businesses, we were able to construct the boot and get the whole event going.”
Helping bring Horn’s idea to life was Stephan Markov of Morgan Sign Company, a local business who has served the community for three decades. Markov and Horn drafted a plan which took Markov one month to complete the six-foot-high boot that features over 100 lights.
“I try new challenges,” Markov said in a phone interview. “It gives me a sense of accomplishment to make the community feel joyous and celebrate the new year.”
Horn admitted she was nervous when the event made its debut on New Year’s Eve 2011. She wasn’t sure how people would respond and attend the event. She was shocked to see over 5,000 people come out and witness the inaugural “Boot-Drop”.
“It was magical, of course, to see all those people come out to this silly event,” Horn said. “It just became a success after that.”
Putting on one of these events isn’t cheap. Horn mentioned it costs money for the street to be blocked off, extra officers and security as well as the stage. Horn said the entire event costs around $15,000 to put on-which is all funded through sponsors.
Horn mentioned the sponsors and attendance have grown as the event continued; even getting national attention from the Los Angeles Times as the “boot” was featured in a December 2013 article which listed “7 Weird Items That Will Drop on New Year’s Eve”.
“It’s silly fun,” Horn said. “There is nothing extravagant about it necessarily, but it’s just fun for everybody to come together-do something that is a little different.”
Horn was too busy to run the event after three years, which she did completely on her own time in the past, deciding to hand-off the position and instead stay involved in a marketing role. She approached Matt Brassard, the owner of M&M Entertainment and Productions as well as Matt’s Saloon on Whiskey Row, who gladly accepted the responsibility.
“We think it’s just an awesome community event,” said Brassard in an interview. “Just a good way to get everyone together and ring in the new year the right way.”
Brassard mentioned before the “Boot-Drop”, New Year’s Eve was one of those nights where people went to the bars or attended private parties. Now, thousands of people gather in downtown Prescott to celebrate the new year together.
“Once the ‘Boot-Drop’ did start, we saw our New Year’s Eve really get busier and busier,” Brassard said.
Also seeing the uptick of attendance is the historic Palace Restaurant and Saloon, the roof where the “boot” calls home during the new year’s festivities.
“It’s a nice event and it gets people excited,” said Dave Michelson who has owned the Palace Restaurant and Saloon for over 20 years. “If they don’t come to the businesses, they are still coming downtown and enjoying downtown.”
It has been a goal for Horn and Brassard to continue expanding the event year-after-year and New Year’s Eve 2016 is no different.
People will be amazed to see a Ferris wheel make a debut as well as fire-dancers who will be performing at 9pm and 11pm.
Also at this year’s “Boot-Drop”, will be Prescott Pete’s Highfalutin Shooting Gallery, the Annie Thing Goes food truck, kettle corn, hot chocolate, coffee as well as bands who will be performing in the various bars and much more. Leza Dandos, from the Prescott-based adult contemporary sation Magic 99.1, will be hosting the event and include a live DJ who will spin records spanning across multiple genres.
The event remains free to the public and there will be a “boot-drop” at 10 pm and midnight. Each will include fireworks to light up the sky and signal in a new year.
It will be cold outside so Brassard mentioned people should dress accordingly and enjoy the fire-pits located throughout the street.
“We hope everyone can come out and have a good time,” Brassard said.