Laser show in, fireworks out at city’s New Year’s celebration

Laser show in, fireworks out at city’s New Year’s celebration
About 6,000 balls will rain down on revelers in Alexandria as 2012 is officially ushered in overnight Saturday. (File Photo)

All eyes will be on the George Washington Masonic Memorial Saturday night as 6,000 balls drop on revelers heralding the arrival of 2012 in Alexandria.

At the exact moment the ball drops in New York City’s Times Square, laser lights will sweep across Alexandria’s night sky to music and fanfare, the culmination of nearly 12 hours of celebrating the coming New Year as part of First Night Alexandria.

The party kicks off at 1 p.m., with a family-friendly fun hunt, children’s art activities at the Torpedo Factory and a beading event at Potomac Bead Co. Live music will fill Old Town starting at 7 p.m. with 100 acts performing in 18 venues across the historic neighborhood.

Revelers will begin congregating near the memorial about 10 p.m. for a musical performance on the iconic structure’s lawn. The multimedia finale, including the ball drop and laser light show, is slated to get underway at about 11:30 p.m.

But a new state law means lasers will be the sole light show spectators get to watch.  The General Assembly lessened the allowable distance between spectators and fireworks, effectively banning pyrotechnics from the event.

Still, organizers tout the celebration as the region’s “largest family-friendly and alcohol-free” end-of-the-year event. Tickets are $20, though children 12 and under are admitted free of charge.