Some traditions are simply timeless. And one of the best on this list is the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball ceremony in Times Square, New York. Local balloon designer Jacqueline Jackson said she was honored to be part of the prestigious countdown celebration.
“The live scene was phenomenal. The lights, music, confetti and people waving their balloons with the metallic streamers were just spectacular. The Waterford crystal ball is the cake, but the confetti and balloons are the icing, as technical director Treb Heining would say,” Jackson said. the gleaner.
She said she was heartened to see the celebrations, especially as the world continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Just seeing people wave their balloons and being happy even in these trying times we are all going through was enough for me. To be in the most famous place in the world for New Years and knowing that I was part of the spreading joy and happiness while ringing in a new year, with new dreams and hope, was fulfilling,” said balloon artist and creative director of Balloon by dit Jaki Jade.
Jackson said it was while watching the ball drop a few years ago that she noticed the incorporation of balloons. Fascinated by the production, which paid close attention to every detail in a precise and timely manner, the creative wanted to know more. So she took a screenshot of a branded ball and contacted the sponsor.
When this route did not produce the desired results, Jackson extended his search to previously published newspaper articles and past television coverage. Not understanding his findings, she called the company back and they revealed it was someone working in upstate New York.
Finding that piece of the puzzle meant she was close to solving the mystery of the bullet drop. “I got my hands on a list of all the balloon artists in the area, and that’s how I found the person. We talked for hours about the event and what it takes to put on an event of this magnitude. I told him that I am very open to being part of the team. I invited him to Jamaica to participate in an event I was planning, but the global pandemic hit and we had to postpone,” she explained.
Disappointed, Jackson was even more affected by the death of her mother. “I felt like a complete failure,” she admitted. But all hope was not lost. A visit to her family in the United States would give her the breathing space she needed and help her reconnect with her loved ones. It would also give him the chance to finally meet the man behind the balloons at the official balloon drop ceremony, Danny Magowan. Magowan has been doing the Times Square balloon segment for 28 years.
She contacted him upon arrival to say she was in the United States and asked if his offer to be part of the amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was still on the table. Suffice to say, Jackson, along with his sister and niece, drove 22 hours to reach New York in time for his first official layover on Dec. 29.
“My adrenaline was so high, as you can imagine. I jumped with an open heart and mind. All moving parts and timing had to be executed with precision. I was part of the balloon crew and engineer scattering confetti [team] for the event. The team was responsible for preparing 25,000 colorful biodegradable balloons with metallic gold streamers for the revelers, all of which were branded Planet Fitness, a sponsor for many years,” she revealed. She added: “The inflated balloons were placed in reserved pods strategically placed in the streets near the main stages. At a certain hour, the balloons were distributed by our street team to the public present. This created a wave of excitement. It was an incredible sight to see.
Jackson shared that the team only had one window of opportunity — 10 minutes — to throw the confetti. “It’s not a gimmick. We had to make it spectacular. In the art of doing this, one must have a certain amount of knowledge. Understanding the wind pattern, praying for no rain, and hoping it’s cold enough (not too cold) to create a spectacular and long-lasting aftereffect for the confetti was crucial.
Of the two debutants on the balloon and confetti team, Jackson said she was extremely grateful to be under Magowan’s tutelage. Detailed in his approach, she said he communicated every step of the way, imparting his knowledge and wisdom as he went. Following the success of the event, she hopes to work with her team in the years to come and explore other new and exciting opportunities.
“I feel so blessed. I have always wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. I know I was completely guided by spirit and my mother to do this. Danny and the team were warm , welcoming and amazing I was able to work with world class confetti technical directors Treb Heining and Bill Schaffell Everything was perfectly aligned I am now on a new journey because I answered the call of my new assignment. I hope I have made Jamaica proud,” she added.