Panama City Beach may be best known for fun in the sun, but one of Northwest Florida’s most exciting annual events happens after dark: The New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop! Help us ring in 2023, Real. Fun. Beach. style.
Come to Panama City Beach on December 31st to enjoy not one but two great opportunities to welcome in the New Year. The streets of Pier Park are closed off to traffic as thousands of revelers enjoy free live music, entertainment, fireworks, and good cheer.
For those too excited to wait until midnight, or for those fans of New Year’s Eve who want to conduct the countdown twice, there are separate Beach Ball Drops at both 8:00 p.m. and midnight. Families with young children and adults looking to stay up until after the calendar page actually turns both have options about how best to celebrate the New Year with thousands of other revelers close to Panama City Beach’s pristine waterfront and many amenities.
On the way to midnight, bands perform for the gathering crowd, anticipating the countdown to 2022 when a huge, glowing beach ball is lowered to signal the start of the New Year, and another great fireworks display. Time Square has nothing on this Panama City Beach NYE party!
Get the Party Started
The first celebration starts at 5:35 p.m. with free live music on the concert stage by Barry Fish Band in front of the Celebration Tower. The streets in and around Pier Park are well-lit and will be closed to traffic for the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop and related events, allowing revelers to enjoy the largest street festival for miles around in a family-friendly environment that includes shopping, food vendors and games and activities for children.
Kids’ Beach Ball Drop
At 8:00 p.m. visitors young and old will want to make their way down S. Pier Park Drive. “Ten…Nine…Eight…” When the crowd finishes their countdown, it’s time for the city’s first Beach Ball Drop of the evening, with 10,000 inflated beach balls descending from above, floating down on the festival-goers below like warm snowflakes. This initial Beach Ball Drop may cater to those with early bedtimes, but it will be hard to sleep after the first round of fireworks begin exploding over Panama City Beach and lighting up the night sky as revelers continue to keep beach balls bouncing over the heads of the thousands gathered.
More Live Music
Stick around after that first spectacle of sparkles as more live music continues on the main stage by The Will Thompson Band at 8:15pm, followed by The Great Grand Finale at 10:00pm. All live music on the stage at Pier Park is free and open to the public and all the groups are guaranteed to ring in the New Year on the right note.
Beach Ball Drop from Celebration Tower
As the clock ticks closer toward midnight Celebration Tower becomes the epicenter of the festivities. Opened in 2016, Panama City Beach’s tower is ten feet taller than the pole on One Times Square in Manhattan (and much closer to white sand beaches and the region’s best sport fishing, too!). Atop Celebration Tower sits what is surely one of the world’s largest beach balls—nearly ten feet in diameter!—and the key to the most unique New Year’s tradition anywhere along Florida’s coast.
As tens of thousands of revelers join the chorus of the final ten-second countdown, the evening’s second Beach Ball Drop begins. The giant beach ball descends further down Celebration Tower with each tick of the clock until it reaches the bottom, signaling the New Year. It’s also the cue for a second round of fireworks, launched from the end of Russell-Fields Pier, to begin igniting in the sky over Panama City Beach, home of “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” The pier, which reaches out more than a quarter-mile into the Gulf of Mexico presents the perfect night-sky backdrop against which to enjoy the bright lights and sharp cracks of sound that send out the old year and welcome in the new.