The giant MirrorBall, the 2,433-pound glittering orb so big it has to be hoisted on a crane, has been relieved of its end-of-year duties.
After three years as the centerpiece of Salt Lake City’s New Year’s Eve celebration, the sparkling disco ball — aka The Illuminator — now sits in an undisclosed storage unit, unassembled, waiting for its next chance to shine.
The MirrorBall was let go when the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance decided to do away with its multiday winter festival and replace it with a free, one-night-only party.
The new offering, called Last Hurrah, takes place Sunday at The Gateway and will have all the elements to ring in the new year — food trucks, live music, indoor games for kids and fireworks at midnight. There even will be a pop-up lounge where guests 21 and older can enjoy beer, wine and cocktails. (See box for details.)
While its services are no longer needed for New Year’s Eve, “The Illuminator lives on,” said Derek Dyer, the Utah artist who created the glittery installation. “Now it will be available to rent for other events and festivals.”
It already had its first out-of-state gig earlier this year, when Dyer drove it to Miami for the Paramount Worldcenter Tower’s grand opening.
Few things can replicate the sparkle of the giant ball, built with 1,200 mirrors, each one a 12-inch square. With a circumference of more than 60 feet and weighing in at 2,433 pounds, the massive installation is the largest glitter ball in America and the third largest disco ball in the world. England’s Isle of Wight has the largest orb, while Paris has the second.
“My ball is way cooler than the other,” said Dyer, who also is the executive director of the Utah Arts Alliance. “The largest ball doesn’t even have a motor.”
Dyer said The Illuminator has a motorized pedestal — which looks like a UFO landing pod — that allows it to sit on the ground and rotate. Another unique feature, he said, is that guests can go inside the ball, where there is a chrome diamond-plate dance floor.
“It’s definitely a beautiful piece of art and the best piece I’ve done,” he said.
It debuted in 2014 when the Downtown Alliance decided to ditch its usual fireworks display and offer an alternative that didn’t contribute to Utah’s winter pollution. It served as the backdrop for the light-and-laser show and was hoisted into the air on a crane to make a slow descent, much as the ball drops in New York City’s Times Square.
Dyer said his agreement with the Downtown Alliance was to use the giant MirrorBall three to five years. Salt Lake City paid for a large portion of the art project, but Dyer donated his time so he could retain ownership.
“I was ready to do it again this year,” he said. “But they’ve decided to go in a different dirction and do a new event. I appreciate what they are trying to do.”
While the MirrorBall is available for parties, “it’s really a piece for a big event with at least 20,000 people,” he said, adding that costs for its use depend on many things. He noted it takes two days to assemble and requires at least eight people and a crane, depending on how it is displayed.
Deyer said the MirrorBall will likely pop up again in Utah — possibly at the Utah Arts Alliance’s fall Illuminate Festival, which incorporates art and technology.
“The next time people see it,” he said, “the weather might be nicer than on Dec. 31.”
Everything you need to ring in 2018 will be available at this one-night-only party, including food trucks, live music and dance performances, indoor games and fireworks at midnight. There’s even a pop-up lounge where guests 21 and older can enjoy beer, wine and cocktails.
When • Sunday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. to midnight
Where • The Gateway, 400 West between 200 South and South Temple, Salt Lake City
Cost • Admission is free; but bring money for food and drinks
Details • http://www.lasthurrahslc.com/