TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Forget America's largest disco ball - Hotel Congress is ditching the ball it has used the last two years and will drop a giant, locally-crafted 15-foot-wide, 8-foot-tall taco for its New Year's Eve block party instead.
Despite temperatures in the 40s with a good chance of nighttime rain in the NYE forecast, David Slutes, entertainment director for Hotel Congress said the celebration will happen. The taco will drop even if it's raining. Workers are prepared to keep outside guests comfortable with tents and lots of heaters.
Slutes says he wanted to try something new this year and give the Hotel Congress NYE Block Party some Tucson flavor. He originally thought of dropping a Sonoran hot dog at midnight, but thought it wouldn't be as appealing. His next idea - a giant taco. Since he couldn't find one, he reached out to local artist Joe Pagac to create one for him. Pagac is well-known for his mural paintings which can be seen around downtown Tucson.
Pagac says the taco is mostly made out of wood and metal. The 'ingredients' are shredded table cloths for lettuce and painted Styrofoam tomatoes. As for the meat? Guess what type of taco it is here:
The giant taco will be hoisted on a crane, lit up with search lights, and dropped into a giant hand made of wood for the midnight countdown. Both the taco and the hand have been waterproofed with a special coating to protect it from the rain.
According to Slutes, tickets to see the Tucson taco drop for its 21-and-older-only NYE block party are sold out.
Slutes blames the wet weather forecast for his decision to cap the crowd at a little more than 1,000 tickets instead of the originally planned 2,000 tickets to make the experience more comfortable for customers.
However, Slutes has said if the weather holds up, it is possible more tickets could be sold at the door for $25.
Part of Congress Street will be roped off and reserved for ticket holders, but Slutes says the public could see the taco drop outside the block party area.
The Hotel Congress NYE block party starts at 8 p.m. on Wed. Dec. 31. The taco drop starts right before midnight.
For more information, call Hotel Congress at (520) 622-8848.
Other downtown businesses have said they have no plans to stop the New Year's Eve parties because of the weather. Playground Bar & Lounge also ordered tents and heaters to keep customers comfortable as well. Tickets are not required, but there is a $20 cover.
For those who want to avoid the rain and cold weather for free, Casino Del Sol will have an indoor balloon drop. There is no admission price to attend its celebrations.
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