by Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Preparation for some of the village's big December events is coming along well, according to village officials Monday.
Public events like the third annual Flames Through Lewiston (Dec. 15) and the New Year's Eve ball drop (Dec. 31) will soon be noticeable along Center Street and in Academy Park.
Village Board Member Bruce Sutherland said organizers for the Flames event will need time to do a test run before the event because of a new addition to the show which was well received 12 months ago.
"We want to try it with some dry ice to create smoke," he said. "We'll need to test it within the next week."
The popular Flames Through Lewiston is a re-creation of the fateful night in December 1813 when British soldiers and Mohawk tribesmen looted and burned the town during the War of 1812.
Last year's event drew hundreds to Center Street between Fourth and Fifth streets as battle re-enactors fired muskets and actors fled for their lives.
This year's offering, beginning at around 6:15 p.m. Dec. 15, will look similar, with the added smoke if the tests pan out, Sutherland said.
Speakers for the script narration will be placed on both sides of the block – by Fourth and Fifth streets – to better amplify the sound for all visitors, a complaint organizers heard from last year's event. In the interest of public safety, too, crowds will not be able to stand as close to the actual street and will instead be pushed further back toward the sidewalks.
"We don't want to have any accidents with the muskets," Sutherland said. But those accidents would come from sound and muzzle fire, not people actually getting shot.
As for the village's New Year's celebration, two ball drops will occur again this year, with an earlier time set aside for families and the actual midnight celebration still available for adults.
Also returning for another year is the heated tent, along with music. A new addition, according to Mayor Terry Collesano, could solve one of the complaints the village heard about last year's event: darkness.
He said the village might rent lights to shine in the park for patrons of the ball drops, if the price is right. He directed Department of Public Works Superintendent Bryan Meigs to find prices to rent lights similar to what construction crews use for overnight road work.