PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — After not having the Pelican Drop in Pensacola, New Year’s Eve 2022, and visiting Moon Pies over Mobile, Escambia County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh said he wants to make sure the pelican comes back to Pensacola next year.
The last Pelican Drop downtown was in 2017. Lissa Dees, former executive director of The Downtown Improvement Board, told WKRG News 5 the DIB last funded the Pelican Drop in 2016. That funding went to pay for the drop itself, security and more. Since then, the drop has been privately funded by business owners and Pensacola residents who wanted to see the tradition continue. The last two years of the drop, it was held at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium after businessman Quint Studer took over the event.
“I had the opportunity to celebrate the New Year in Mobile,” Bergosh said. “I just want to say, I think Pensacola, Escambia County, downtown Pensacola, we need to bring back a celebration the entire community can be proud of.”
Bergosh said he has already spoken to the DIB about the possibility of bringing back the event. He said he believes the county can do better than Mobile.
At this year’s event in Mobile, one person was killed and nine were injured in a shooting in downtown Mobile. According to Mobile police, they contained the scene and New Year’s Eve celebrations in downtown Mobile continued. On Jan. 1, Officials with the MPD announced they had a suspect in custody for the shooting. Thomas Earl Thomas, Jr., was transported to Mobile Metro Jail and charged with murder.
“We can do what Mobile did and do it better, and we won’t have a mass shooting and fights, I hope,” Bergosh said.
County commission chairman Lumon May, Commissioner Robert Bender and Commissioner Mike Kohler all said they supported the idea.
Bender, who represents the county as a non-voting member of the DIB said they have already been discussing bringing the Pelican Drop back. Kohler, who will take Bender’s spot this year said it was the first item of discussion he brought up to the DIB.
“Next year, it’s gonna happen,” Kohler said.
Bergosh said he is going to donate $10,000 out of his discretionary funds to make the Pelican Drop in 2024.