There is a new addition to 2011 ball drop and fireworks display planned at the Iskalo Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo -- a live concert.
The local band "More Than Me," which opened for Paul McCartney this summer in London, will headline the stage fireworks performances scheduled for the 23rd annual event.
"This is a truly exciting event for Buffalo, which continues to attract thousands of people into the heart of downtown to welcome in the New Year," Mayor Byron W. Brown said in a statement Wednesday.
"Now in its 23rd year, the Ball Drop celebration this year will be filled with great entertainment and fun events, culminating in the countdown to the New Year and topped off with a spectacular fireworks show," Brown added.
"With the addition of thousands of visitors from around the country and world coming to Buffalo for the World Junior Hockey Tournament, we expect this to be a very memorable and fun-filled celebration," he added.
The family-friendly event also will feature Dennis George, known as "The Quizmaster," who is scheduled to take the stage at 10:30 p.m. in Roosevelt Plaza outside the Electric Tower.
There are several sponsors of the event, helping to ensure that the annual tradition was not broken this year. They include the Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Iskalo Development -- owners of the former Niagara Mohawk Building-- and WKBW Channel 7.
This year's event will coincide with the World Junior Hockey Tournament, scheduled for Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, opening the downtown tradition to hundreds more participants from outside the region.
The "Countdown to 2011" special will air on WKBW-TV, Channel 7, beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, which also showcases the annual ball drop celebration in Times Square in New York City, along with Buffalo's ball drop and fireworks display.
Independent Health, which sponsors the annual First Night celebration, has been an anchor sponsor for many of the ball drop events over the years.
The First Night celebration, held in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, is considered the second largest event of its kind in the nation.