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Continuing the Tradition: The Horton Hotel to Host Boone Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve

The 2021 ball drop

By Harley Nefe

For the third year in a row, The Horton Hotel in Downtown Boone plans to celebrate the upcoming new year with its annual ball drop event on New Year’s Eve.

The Lobby Lounge and the Rooftop Bar will be open on Friday, December 31, starting at 4 p.m. through the holiday celebration. The Rooftop Bar will close at 10 p.m. to the public, while the Lobby Lounge will remain open for the public until midnight.

“There will be a complimentary midnight bubbly toast for guests,” described Andrea Morton, Creative Director for The Horton Hotel. “It will be a festive night of toasting as we all ring in 2022!”

The hotel is sold out at this time; however, the bar and lounge will be welcoming people on a first come first serve basis with limited capacity. Hotel guests will have priority access.

The Horton Hotel features an assortment of desserts and cocktails for visitors to enjoy especially with their unique winter menu.

Weather permitting, the ball drop will be located outside on the rooftop with Elijah Davenport, Chief Engineer, managing the event. 

“We’re hoping for mild weather,” Morton said. “If it’s too rainy, there’s a chance it could be canceled, but we’re holding out, and we’re going to do our best.”

While there’s limited space at the Rooftop Bar, the downstairs Lobby Lounge will be a cozy and cool place to be as Morton explained that the Times Square Ball Drop will be shown on the TV, so guests can celebrate the new year traditionally that way as well.

“For folks that maybe are not able to make it out this year, the move is to book a room for next year to get the New Year’s Eve package,” Morton said. “You get priority access; you get complimentary bubbly; you get all these extra perks that come with staying there. So, honestly, because this is something we plan to keep the tradition going with, booking a stay for New Year’s Eve ahead of time and getting that in your plans is the move.”

The ball drop can also be seen from the Jones House and the surrounding Downtown Boone businesses; therefore, it’s an event for the whole community to participate in.

“I have some ideas on how Downtown Boone can grow the event, and I’m bringing some of those ideas to people in January, so maybe 2023 will be an even bigger blast,” Morton said. “Hopefully we can grow it. That’s the whole thing. We want to keep the tradition alive and continue to make it bigger and bigger and something for the community to do that’s safe and fun.”

The Boone Ball Drop tradition is continuing throughout The Horton Hotel’s change of ownership. In August of this year, Horton Hotel founders Fulton and Denise Lovin sold the hotel to SPA Properties, a new ownership group made up of Sean Sassano, Paul Pessina and Aaron Ammar. All three were athletes and graduates of Appalachian State University and have made their impact in other areas of the community, including ownership of professional soccer club Appalachian FC, and Vixster, a waste and recycling company.  

“The big thing was that it was such a good sale,” Morton said. “Denise and Fulton were such a community type of couple, and the hotel is such a hub for Boone, so of course they sold it to alumni. Sean, Paul and Aaron really do care about seeing Boone continue to grow and really seeing it flourish and seeing businesses do well. They are carrying on this tradition as well as they carry on other things that Denise and Fulton did originally.”

Photos courtesy of The Horton Hotel:

The Rooftop Bar
The Rooftop Bar

Photos from the 2021 ball drop celebration: