By Jesse Bertel

Celebrate the arrival of the New Year on Whiskey Row with an evening filled with live music, fireworks and entertaining activities for children. The 13th annual New Year’s Eve Whiskey Row Boot Drop transforms downtown Prescott into a lively street party. Witness the descent of a 6-foot illuminated boot from a 40-foot height on the Palace Saloon building’s flagpole.

The festivities commence with a live band starting at 7:30 p.m. on Montezuma Street, between Gurley and Goodwin, accompanied by street food vendors and carnival rides. The iconic boot descends twice — first at 10 p.m. and then at midnight, each occasion marked by a spectacular fireworks show.

The inaugural Boot Drop took place in downtown Prescott on New Year’s Eve 2011, with the Palace building providing a picturesque backdrop. Helken & Horn Ad Agency was enlisted in 2010 to establish a tourism department for the City of Prescott, with one of their tasks being the creation of new events to enhance the holiday season.

In the second and third years, the Prescott Chamber of Commerce facilitated the event. Matt Brassard and Marco Espitia, co-owners of M&M Entertainment & Productions, have been organizing and managing it since the fourth year.

“It was really a brainchild of Tracy Horn from Helken & Horn Ad Agency,” Brassard said. “She partnered with the city and with Magic, you know, Great Circle [Media] and got it going in the first year, and it grew from there.”

The Boot Drop was the first major New Year’s Eve event organized in downtown Prescott.

“At the time, there was nothing going on New Year’s Eve downtown other than, you know, of course, the bars and restaurants,” Brassard said. “So, this was kind of a way to add, you know, another event to Arizona’s ‘Christmas City,’ kind of finish with the culmination of the Boot Drop.”

Last year, an estimated 20,000 people attended the event.

Donna Werking, owner of Northern AZ Social, was part of the team at Helken & Horn that helped get the Boot Drop started 13 years ago.

“During my involvement, we’ve ensured that the event contributes to the community’s sales and bed tax revenue, while also maintaining its family-friendly nature and being free for all to attend,” Werking said. “It brings me immense pride to witness the event’s growth, from the first gathering of a few thousand attendees to now hosting over 10,000 individuals annually.”

Brassard suggests arriving early to get ahead of the crowds and savor the offerings of downtown Prescott’s numerous eateries. If you miss dinner, explore the diverse food truck options conveniently parked on the street.

The Friendly Jester, a band that plays a wide mix of top 40s and classic rock, will perform live on a stage in the middle of the street throughout the night.

For more information and updates, visit www.bootdrop.com, or call 1-800-975-0013.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at jbertel@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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