New Year’s celebration at Midland’s Dow Diamond to return after pandemic derailed 2020 plans

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MIDLAND, MI — Organizers of one of the region’s largest annual New Year’s Eve celebrations say early ticket sales remain on par with the 2019 gala despite both concerns about the pandemic and competition from a college football game likely to keep many people at home.

Like many New Year’s Eve parties in 2020, “Midnight on Main” was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even as COVID-19 cases continue to impact Midland — and the rest of the planet — organizers decided to resume the event this year.

“Midnight on Main” will return Friday, Dec. 31, indoors at Dow Diamond in Midland, complete with the gathering’s traditional 10-minute-long firework display and a ceremonial Times Square-style New Year’s Eve ball-drop ceremony at midnight.

“Ticket sales are good even though I think a lot of people are nervous about COVID, and also the big game is that night,” said Jim Paetschow, president of Clare-based Sound Productions Entertainment that organizes the event.

Typically, the gathering attracts almost 1,500 people, with most patrons purchasing tickets in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, he said.

As of early this week, organizers have sold about 500 tickets, which was on pace with pre-pandemic sales that far in advance of the gathering.

Paetschow was unsure if the trend will continue as the countdown to New Year’s Eve narrows from days to hours.

“There are other events you see that are light on attendance,” he said. “You see it at shows at Soaring Eagle Casino and you see it at Red Wings games, where they are light on attendance. You just don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”

Paetschow said potential party-goers should not skip “Midnight on Main” because the Orange Bowl college football matchup between University of Michigan and Georgia is scheduled that same evening.

He plans to screen the game on Dow Diamond’s 20- and 10-foot screens.

“It will be better to watch it here than where they’re planning to watch it, more than likely,” he said.

General admission tickets cost $35. “VIP” tickets, for $150, include dinner and appetizers; access to a private bar and dance floor; and a champagne toast. Both options are available to purchase online.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Midnight on Main” takes place within the multi-level concourse inside the Dow Diamond complex.

Live entertainment will include musical performances by Jedi Mind Trip.

“They bring a lot of people, always,” Paetschow said of the popular regional band’s ticket sales draw.

A Sound Productions Entertainment DJ will also play music at the gathering.

From indoors, attendees can watch the event’s traditional New Year’s Eve ball-drop ceremony and fireworks show displayed over the baseball field.

Paetschow said attendees are not required to wear protective facemasks.

“Masks are encouraged, and if you wear them, that’s great, but if you don’t, that’s no problem,” he said.

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