KISSIMMEE – It’s important to keep in mind, Kelly Trace noted, that rain will be falling in downtown Kissimmee on Saturday, just as the clock strikes midnight.
But Trace is not a meteorologist, and she’s not forecasting a rain storm that soaks people hoping to enjoy a pleasant and fun night out on New Year’s Eve. And there’s no guarantee anyone is going to get wet that night.
What’s actually going to happen at midnight, she noted, is that a lighted Cube will drop, mirroring the ball that drops in Times Square as Americans usher in the new year.
It just so happens that the cube, she added, is officially called Rain.
Starting at 6 p.m., downtown Kissimmee will be hosting a big block party on Saturday, Dec. 31, said Trace, the director of Kissimmee Main Street, the agency that promotes the downtown neighborhood.
It all starts at Dakin Avenue.
“We’re going to block off Dakin from Pleasant Street to Broadway,” Trace said. “It’s one block, but it’s fairly large. It covers about five storefronts.”
Stores in downtown will remain open late into the evening, champagne will flow at the restaurants, and Trace said guests can expect live entertainment and plenty to do.
“There will be live music from the Kicks, and drink specials that include glasses of champagne,” Trace said. The Kicks is the band from Nashville, best known for singles like “Hawk Eyes,” “Let Me Love You” and “Songs for the Queen.”
And then there’s the rain.
“We have built a two foot by two foot cube that is all lit up, and tow trucks will drop the cube — kind of like the ball drops in New York City — at midnight,” she said. “That’s a cool aspect of the cube drop.”
Why drop a cube? It’s all part of the revitalization of the city’s waterfront, Trace added.
”The reason why it’s a cube is our lakefront park is being redeveloped, and part of that project was having the cube commissioned,” she said. “It’s a big project that we’re doing, being done by the City of Kissimmee Parks and Recreation Department.”
In an effort to create interesting sites and exhibits along the waterfront, the city began looking for a major piece of art to go there.
“The cube is the art sculpture that was commissioned,” she said. “The cube is the one that won, and the cube is actually called Rain.”
That’s in part because it will include a waterfall, she said.
“This is a big cube that has water that falls from the top, and an area under it where you can go inside the cube,” she said. “It’s a huge structure, and the water will fall from the top down. We do a movie in the park every month, and they’ve said we would be able to project a movie on the water.”
The only hitch is, the nickname – Rain – hasn’t caught on yet with city residents, Trace added.
“People don’t call it Rain, they call it Cube,” she said.
So that’s why Kissimmee city leaders decided to make the Cube a highlight of the block party and New Year’s Eve bash.
“To raise awareness of that project, we decided to make it a cube drop rather than a ball drop,” she said.
And while downtown Kissimmee has always had a party welcoming in the New Year, Trace said this year’s bash is expected to be bigger and, city leaders hope, much better than in the past.
“This is the first time it’s been this big,” she said. “Every year they have a block party on Dakin, but this year it’s bigger than normal. I think they’re anticipating between 300 and 500 people. Most of the merchants will have champagne, and it will be a nice, fun street party.”
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