Grand Park New Year's Eve celebration draws 40,000

Grand Park New Year's Eve celebration draws 40,000

An estimated 40,000 people attended a New Year's Eve party in downtown Los Angeles' Grand Park, an event that organizers and police said ran smoothly despite the larger-than-anticipated crowd.

Wednesday night marked the second year in a row for the free public celebration, which featured music and light shows in the 12-acre space stretching between City Hall and the Music Center.

A spokeswoman for Grand Park said that organizers had expected 30,000 attendees but planned for 50,000. The actual crowd hit in the middle, she said.

"Things went really well," Bonnie Goodman said. "It was really, really phenomenal."

Lt. Andy Neiman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said LAPD officers didn't make a single arrest related to the event. He called the attendees a "very well-behaved crowd."

Organizers hope the event will become a New Year's Eve tradition in Los Angeles, much like the ball drop in Times Square is for New York City. But instead of the iconic glittering ball, the L.A. event featured a light show projected onto City Hall and the nearby county Hall of Records building.

"It's not Times Square, but it's a good substitute," said Evan Kelly, 17, of Riverside.

Last year's event drew about 25,000 spectators, crowding side streets, waiting in overlong beer lines and buying so much food that vendors ran out.

Organizers made the event much larger this year, tripling the space and doubling both the number of entrance gates and food options. Music from a variety of L.A.-based musicians and DJ's was presented on three stages. Alcohol was banned to make the event more family-friendly.

Grand Park has become an increasingly popular venue since it opened in 2012, hosting invents such as yoga classes, fireworks shows and a musical festival headlined by Kanye West.

Times staff writers Catherine Saillant and Frank Shyong contributed to this report.

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