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Business owner lends a hand to New Year’s fest

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Confetti rains on the thousands of people in Times Square who celebrated New Year’s last week. Easton businesswoman Karen Ford helped to drop the confetti.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Confetti rains on the thousands of people in Times Square who celebrated New Year’s last week. Easton businesswoman Karen Ford helped to drop the confetti.

Millions of people throughout the nation watch the ball drop from Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

This year, one local businessperson got the chance to play a part in marking the big celebration.

Karen Ford, owner of Events by BalloonWorks LLC in Easton, said she got the invitation to volunteer as part of a confetti crew headed by Treb Heining, whom she described as the mastermind of the balloon-decorating industry and “man of the hour” behind each New Year’s Eve celebration in Manhattan’s Times Square for more than 25 years.

In 2016, Heining called on Ford to help him pull together the team of professionals to do the balloon inflation of the 120,000-plus balloons for the drops at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. She had told him she wanted to help on New Year’s Eve and then received a letter from him in early December, asking her to participate.

For years, Heining has dispersed thousands of pounds of confetti in the air, with help from his team of volunteers. To help ring in New Year’s at Times Square, they drop the confetti by hand from atop several buildings onto the crowds below.

“It’s the most amazing experience,” Ford said. “I’ve said for years I wanted to do it.”

Ford said she and a friend joined a team of about 11 people who were part of Heining’s crew of more than 100 who dropped about 3,500 pounds of confetti to the ground. She and her team were on the 10th floor of the Marriott Hotel.

Before the main confetti toss, her team dispensed purple and yellow confetti and then, at another point, streamers.

Just before midnight, the crew started releasing confetti as the descent began for the massive ball that drops in Times Square to signal the new year.

“At 20 seconds before midnight is when we start dispersing the confetti because it takes that long to reach the ground,” Ford said. “It’s such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was such a goosebump moment.”

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