Why will Old Sacramento only have a 9 p.m. fireworks show this New Year’s Eve?

Fireworks are scheduled to go off over Old Sacramento at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve.
Fireworks are scheduled to go off over Old Sacramento at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve. Bee file

For the first time in years, Sacramento will only have a 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve fireworks show on the Old Sacramento waterfront, leaving some residents wondering why no pyrotechnics will ring in the actual new year at midnight.

Mike Testa, chief operating officer for Visit Sacramento, said organizers decided to combine the two fireworks shows because the midnight event has become less popular as more revelers head to parties downtown to ring in the new year. On Saturday, the two fireworks displays will be combined into one longer event.

“The budget and programming is the same. It is one 22-minute show,” Testa said.

The Old Sacramento show has been held the past 16 years, but since 2008 the midnight show crowd has dwindled, Testa said. Instead of a seven-minute show at 9 p.m. and a 12-minute show at midnight, Testa said Visit Sacramento wants to combine them to create a “better event.”

In 2008, businesses on K Street hosted a ball drop at midnight, similar to the one in Times Square in New York City. “After the 9 o’clock show (in Old Sacramento), it was a funnel of people heading toward downtown events,” Testa said.

The last time the midnight fireworks show was canceled was in 2012 after a fatal shooting occurred in Old Sacramento after the 9 p.m. display. Because of the active crime scene, people had to leave the area, Testa said.

Many pubs and businesses in Sacramento will be hosting midnight events, including the Fox & Goose Public House at 1001 R St. and de Vere’s Irish pub at 1521 L St. The Midtown Mountain Get Down at the Midtown Art Retail Restaurant Scene (MARRS) at 1050 20th St. is expected to draw crowds with live music, fashion shows and a sledding hill.

Streets in Old Sacramento will be closed after 4 p.m. Saturday, and the Tower Bridge will be closed to traffic from 7:30 to about 9:30 p.m. so people can watch the evening’s fireworks display.

There will be music and other activities before and after the fireworks show in Old Sacramento. The activities before 9 p.m. will be geared toward children and families.

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Jessica Hice: 916-321-1550, @JesserPea