NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The City of New Bedford will once again hold New Year’s Eve festivities, but this year won’t be having its traditional fireworks display, but rather will have a more modern take on the celebration.

For the first time ever, the “City Celebrates” night of events around Custom House Square will culminate not with fireworks but with an LED drone show.

The drone show will take place at 8:30 p.m. and is being put on by Sky Elements Drones. The drones will be launched from State Pier and fly over Union Street between Route 18 and South 6th Street; as a result, Union Street will be closed and only allow pedestrian traffic between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The drone show will not be viewable outside of this vicinity, the City noted in a release.

“City Celebrates is committed to delivering first-class entertainment for Greater New Bedford families on New Year’s Eve. The drone show offers a cutting-edge, more-sustainable, grand finale to the City Celebrates experience,” Ashley Payne, Director of Tourism & Marketing for the City of New Bedford, told WBSM in a statement.

The drone show will be set to music played by DJ Mikey Life of Abstrakt Music, and Payne noted that in working with Sky Elements, the tourism department was “able to customize the performance to reflect New Bedford’s culture.”

There is also the added benefit that a drone show is less impacted by the weather than a fireworks display.

“The show will not be impacted by cloud cover and carries a significantly lower fire hazard risk than traditional fireworks,” Payne said.

Inclement weather has caused problems for recent fireworks displays in the city, including the postponement of July 4 fireworks earlier this year.

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Other events planned include:

Cirque de Light Firedancing and LED Light Performers

Custom House Square, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Dr. Finnegan’s Circus + Balloon Creations

Magic show, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Balloon creations, New Bedford Whaling National Park, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Roaming circus characters throughout downtown, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Photo Booth

New Bedford Whaling Museum, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

An Acoustic Performance and Sing-along with Richie Oliver

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitors Center, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Toe Jam Puppet Band

New Bedford Whaling Museum, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Vinny’s Miracle Fish Puppets

New Bedford Whaling Museum, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Buttonwood Brass Band

222 Union Restaurant & Bar at the New Bedford Harbor Hotel, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

DJ Mikey Life of Abstrakt Music

YMCA Lawn on Union Street, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (including the drone show)

“The festivities for New Year’s Eve in the City are always a great opportunity for area families and visitors to enjoy free, fun events in our historic downtown,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “We’re grateful for the continuous generosity of Bristol County Savings Bank, which has sponsored the City Celebrates event for several years, as well as Vineyard Wind and Claremont Companies.”

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