Fort Lauderdale will make a splash in the world of New Year’s Eve countdowns Thursday night when it welcomes 2016 by dropping anchor.
Atlanta has an 800-pound peach; Mobile, Ala., a 600-pound Moon Pie; and New York City — a city that does nothing small — the six-ton Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball.
Enter Fort Lauderdale, which has retired its 10-foot lighted aluminum ball made by city employees and replaced it with a $25,000, 20-foot-tall anchor symbolizing the city’s nautical heritage and its “Yachting Capital of the World” moniker.
“We’re the capital of the marine industry,” City Manager Lee Feldman said. “New York has the Big Apple. We’ve got the anchor.”
The Fort Lauderdale Orange Bowl Downtown Countdown celebration starts at 4:30 p.m. Thursday on Southwest Second Street between Southwest Second and Fifth avenues. The anchor, hoisted 100 feet in the air by crane over the street next to Esplanade Park, will light up for the Kids’ Countdown at 7 p.m. and stay lit with waves of color leading up to the midnight drop.
City of Fort Lauderdale employees test the $25,000 anchor it plans to drop on New Year’s Eve, at a city warehouse. The anchor is 20 feet tall and 17 feet across at its widest, and has about 12,000 RGB LED lights that can make 16 million different computer-programmed colors. Tuesday, December 29, 2015. (Michael Laughlin / Sun Sentinel)
The idea for the anchor came a year ago from City Commissioner Dean Trantalis, who suggested it as being more iconic of the city.
While Trantalis originally thought the city could get by with using the old ball’s lights and refashioning them into an anchor, he said the new anchor is an investment that will be used for years to come.
“It’s quite dazzling,” Trantalis said. “I think it stands as a marquee for our city.”
Some anchor facts:
Weight: Estimated 700 pounds (nobody’s put it on a scale)
Dimensions: 20 feet tall, 17 feet wide, 2 feet thick
Lighting: About 12,000 specialized LED computer-programmed lights that can produce 16 million different shades of color
Manufacturer: Miami Christmas Lights
Making it: Eight weeks to design and construct
Material: Steel framework wrapped in nylon string and covered in glitter, with lights positioned inside the frame