Hattiesburg, Mississippi – During a press conference about the City of Hattiesburg’s annual New Year’s Eve Celebration “Midnight on Front Street,” Mayor Toby Barker helped unveil artwork by Gretchen McClure (11) that will be featured on the event’s official promotional poster.
The artwork, “New Year’s in Hattiesburg” was inspired by the Hub Sign and the railroads. McClure entry stated, “I chose to incorporate the train cars and the sign is one of the train wheels.”
McClure is a native Hattiesburger and has participated in several art programs, including extra-curricular lessons through Bristles Art Studio.
“The success of our city is amplified by the talent, creativity and innovation of our residents. Gretchen is an example of that,” Barker stated. “All of the entries were really great, but her iteration of the New Year’s Eve celebration while giving a nod to the history of railcars stood out to us the most.”
A limited number of posters will be printed, numbered and distributed as promotional items for the event.
Barker added, “The idea of creating an official event poster for this event began in 2019 as an opportunity for us to chronicle the event’s history as we strive to establish Midnight on Front Street as a destination event for Mississippi and the Gulf South. Glenda Grubbs knocked it out of the park in 2019 and Gretchen followed in her footsteps this year.”
The event is slated to take place at the intersection of Front Street and Main Street where the original Hub Sign from 1912 was presented to the Commercial Club for the City by the Henry L. Doherty & Company. Ten seconds to Midnight, a replica of the original sign will be lowered to usher in the new year.
In addition to the Hub Sign drop, the event will also feature a dual fireworks show, open downtown restaurants, food trucks, live music and a kids zone area fit with movies, cotton candy, popcorn and more.
“This event is akin to other large-scale events in Downtown Hattiesburg and it has a vibrant environment for everyone – including families,” said Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Downtown Hattiesburg Association. “Whether someone wants to be in the thick of live music and celebrations or immersed in a seasonal family-friendly movie complete with a stroll through the Pocket Museum, the options are there.”
Midnight on Front Street vendors will be ready for business by 7 p.m., with live music beginning at 8 p.m. Traffic plans and parking details will be shared closer to the event date. Those details will be located at hburgnye.com along with a listing of available hotel packages for out-of-town guests, transportation and additional event features.
About the Hub Sign:
The 1912 sign, a gift to benefit the city by the Henry L. Doherty & Company, was 42-feet in diameter, with 1,142 lights, rising 50-feet above the Ross Building (now the American Building on Front Street) and 140-feet from the sidewalk.
The 2018 replica sign was constructed by John Aust of Aust Farms and donated to the City of Hattiesburg by Neel-Schaffer Engineering Firm. It is constructed of three 5-foot by 5-foot sheets of stamped steel and weighs approximately 375 pounds. On New Year’s Eve, it hangs approximately 100 feet in the air with help from the Hattiesburg Fire Department’s ladder truck.
About Midnight on Front Street:
Midnight on Front Street is a premier destination event for Hattiesburg, hosted by the City of Hattiesburg, VisitHattiesburg and the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. For all details regarding the event and its partners, visit hburgnye.com.