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Panama City Beach voted #1 ball drop spot, how it impacts area businesses

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Panama City Beach voted #1 ball drop spot, how it impacts area businesses

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – For more than a decade, people in Panama City Beach have been reining in the new year at Pier Park watching a big beach ball drop at midnight.

That big beach ball has gotten some national recognition. USA Today’s 10Best recently listed ten of the best ball drops across the country and named Panama City Beach number one.

“A lot of the regulars that come in have brought it up, and people vacationing have noticed it- so that post saying we’re number one is definitely viral,” James Koder, general manager of Angry Tuna in Pier Park, said. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick the past couple [of] years since Hurricane Michael and COVID.”

NewsChannel 7 went out to Pier Park, where visitors said they were not surprised Panama City Beach was named the best place to be on New Year’s.

“Oh, it definitely is,” one visitor said. “There’s just a lot going on.”

With so much going on, including two ball drops, live music, and fireworks, area businesses told NewsChannel 7 they are excited for the influx of potential customers. It gives a boost to their employees during the slow off-season.

“New Year’s Eve is typically our biggest day of the year. It’s a big win for us, this week. It’s nice because everyone comes in from out of town and gets our names out there,” Koder said. “We’ve had to triple our staff just for this week. I know the staff is excited. They spent some money on Christmas gifts for the family and kids and I know that it brings in money for them.”

With excitement, they are preparing for the big day.

“Everyone’s on, our whole crew is ready to go. It’s definitely been something we’ve been preparing for,” said SkyWheel Marketing Manager Sean Bailey.

They said they are ready for the business boost and the fun the crowd brings while celebrating the new year.

“I think just as a group- employees and staff- we’re just excited about the energy that comes in the building,” Maria Fitch, local public relations coordinator for Dave & Busters, said.

If you’d like to celebrate the new year in the best place to be, the first celebration starts at 5:35 p.m. with live music, then the early-bird ball drop is at 8 p.m. and the beach ball drop is at midnight in Pier Park.

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